Tashi Dema

Refuting corruption allegations made against a director and manager for exporting minerals without inviting open auctions and bidders for transport, State Mining Corporation Ltd. (SMCL) officials said the complaint was “bogus”.

The anonymous complainant addressed the three-paged letter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) chairperson and uploaded it on Facebook on March 1.

It detailed allegations of how the director and manager are exporting minerals to Nepal, deflating the gypsum price to Nu 1,970 from the actual market rate of Nu 5,500 and sharing the profit. “Accountability has to be fixed and ACC has to intervene and proceed for spot quotation of the minerals from the stockyard by fixing rates at auctions,” the letter stated.

SMCL officials, however, said the complaint was made by an individual, who wanted to transport gypsum but did not win the tender. “SMCL doesn’t look after transport.”

An official said the person lodged a similar complaint to ACC in September last year and ACC officials, who were in Samdrupjongkhar for a different case, visited the SMCL office.

He said that ACC forwarded the complaints to Druk Holdings and Investment (DHI) because there was no corruption element to the case and that they had written to DHI how they were making a seamless transfer.

The official also said SMCL board fixes the rate for gypsum and that the director and manager do not have authority to fix the price as claimed in the article. “Everything is transparent here, as all transactions are online. Payments are made upfront.”

Meanwhile, ACC officials confirmed they did not find corruption elements in the complaint made in September last year. “We didn’t even review the recent complaint,” an official said.