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Corruption: The total amount embezzled from the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan’s (RICBL) branch office in Paro has increased to Nu 113 million from initial amount of Nu 91.6 million.

ACC officials said that this figure was arrived at after the commission finalized the investigation report. The commission reportedly found some missing cheques from RICBL and Bhutan National Bank Limited (BNBL).

However, the number of people involved in the embezzlement case came down from 37 to 24.

Initially, the commission had implicated four prime suspects and 33 accomplices.

“We are preparing a final report that will be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG),” a commission official said. “The commission is expected to forward the case for prosecution next week.”

The prime suspect, RICBL’s Paro branch supervisor, Rinchen Wangdi and 23 employees of RICBL, BNBL and private individuals, are being charged for embezzlement, official misconduct and aiding abetting the crime.

An ACC commissioner said that some BNBL’s tellers were also charged for issuing RICBL’s cheques and facilitating withdrawal from the bank.

The commission has established a strong collusion between Rinchen Wangdi and three employees of BNBL who embezzled Nu 113 million within a period of three years.

The issue surfaced in June last year after a special audit team was deputed to the Paro branch office following observations on the supervisor’s luxurious lifestyle.

It was found that the four suspects had allegedly colluded to ‘fudge’ bank statements while withdrawing from the RICBL account through forged signatures.

The suspects had also tampered with RICBL’s original bank accounts, making it difficult for the auditors to detect discrepancies. The Royal Audit Authority auditors and internal auditors were provided fabricated bank details.

The commission also interrogated more than 33 individuals who were suspected of helping them deposit and withdraw money from the bank.

RICBL’s Paro branch maintains their account with BNBL and Bank of Bhutan. The cashier deposits the day’s transaction on the following day. After the daily deposits are done, the amount is updated and reflected accordingly on both BNBL and RICBL’s accounts. At the end of every month, both accounts are reconciled at the RICBL head office.

Rinzin Wangchuk

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