… and recovers (or is in the process of recovering) sums going into the millions

Corruption: The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) has recovered about Nu 2.8M (million) from a local enterprise in Samtse in connection with the supply of inferior quality corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets to the dzongkhag in the 2013-14 financial year.

Kuensel learnt that the supplier, PP Enterprise, owned by an Indian national married to a Bhutanese in Chengmari, had its supply cancelled and blacklisted by the Samtse dzongkhag administration.

Although Samtse dzongdag Karma Weezir said that the case was audited and sorted out, sources say the case had been submitted to the anti-corruption commission (ACC) earlier this year for further verification of likely collusion.

In the other case, the health ministry officials in Thimphu are currently in Phuentsholing to investigate an alleged misuse of funds by an administrative assistant in Phuentsholing general hospital.

The ministry has not been able to recover a shortage of Nu 1.8M the RAA had uncovered as “irregularities in collection and deposits of revenue” at the Phuentsholing general hospital in 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years.

The hospital’s administrative assistant was implicated for the shortage and compulsorily retired.  However, the amount was not repaid and has reached Nu 1.99M as of today, with interest accumulated since the penalty was imposed on January 2013.

The assistant had expired last year at his home in Jaray, Lhuentse.  Although the health staff in Phuentsholing hospital refrained from commenting, officials in Thimphu said another problem had arisen in recovering from his retirement benefits.

“The National Pension Provident Fund has not allowed his benefits,” an official said, adding the assistant had to pay to a financial institution for his loan. “We’re currently working on it.”

After paying the loan, the amount that would remain from his benefits is not enough to compensate for the shortage.

Initially, four employees with accounts and administration in Phuentsholing hospital, including one messenger, were questioned about the irregularities.  The administrative assistant and an accounts employee were involved.

The accounts employee was also made to retire compulsorily.  About Nu 0.8M was recovered from him.

The general hospital in Phuentsholing generates income from fees of medical certificates to nationals and non-national labourers.  Dental fees and cabin charges are two other sources.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing