The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) implicated three engineers of the Thimphu thromde and two contractors for collusion and bribery while executing thromde’s developmental works.
Calling it an intelligence-based investigation, the commission claimed that the case was brought to its notice in 2017 with allegations of two thromde engineers involving in collusion and bribery while executing roads, drains, sewer networks and footpath works.
An engineer was alleged of manipulating tender bid of a contractor on the pretext of correcting arithmetical error where he was a tender evaluation committee member, which led to the contractor winning the bid. The contractor paid the engineer Nu 178,500 over a period of eight months after the evaluation of the bids.
The work was providing and laying sewer lines at upper Langjophaka and upper Taba.
ACC charged him for passive bribery in accordance to section 49 (1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan.
The 39-year-old engineer from Tsangchushong village in Sangacholing gewog, Samtse started his career as a junior engineer in Phuentsholing thromde.
Another engineer was alleged of receiving Nu 100,000 from the contractor, who constructed only 50 manholes instead of the 76 in construction of sewer network in Motithang, Changangkha, Zilukha and adjoining areas.
The engineer, who was compulsorily retired in February last year, was also accused of not informing the management about the absence of the project engineer while executing the work, which according to the ACC is a breach of contract.
ACC charged the 34-year-old engineer from Galing village of Shongphu gewog, Trashigang, for passive bribery. He started his career as an engineer in Chukha dzongkhag.
ACC’s investigation revealed another engineer’s involvement in executing works allotted to a contractor worth Nu 610,242 and another contractor worth Nu 138,050 where he was assigned to monitor and inspect the works.
The 36-year-old engineer from Damzhagsa village of Tading gewog, Samtse, was also accused of verifying the bills for a contractor without actual construction of sewerage manhole at Yangchenphug area and differences in depth of the manholes.
He was charged for three counts of abuse of functions in accordance with section 58 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act.
The engineer joined Thimphu thromde as a junior engineer in 2010. He was promoted to assistant engineer IV in 2015.
The two contractors, one based in Mongar and other in Thimphu, were charged for active bribery. They were accused of violating section 75 (A) of the Anti-Corruption Act.
ACC also cancelled the licenses of the two contractors after finding corrupt practices.
ACC stated that the government is providing essential services to the public by using scarce resources in order to bring socio-economic development and all officials entrusted with responsibilities to deal with public funds should ensure that the resources are used for the intended purpose with economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
“But few thromde officials have not fulfilled their responsibility and compromised with the quality of the construction work for their little benefits affecting in the delivery of the services,” it stated.
ACC also alleged another Thimphu thromde engineer and the procurement officer of colluding with a bitumen company in Phuentsholing to benefit from the undersupply of bitumen emulsion to the thromde.
The two thromde officials placed an order for supply of 75 barrels of bitumen emulsion from the bitumen company and asked the company to retain 15 barrels and asked for Nu 75,000.
The two officials verified the bills and paid for the 75 barrels, according to the ACC. The bitumen company deposited Nu 75,000 in the officials’ account. The actual cost of the 15 barrels of bitumen was Nu 112,500.
The two officials were also accused of pocketing money through the same modus operandi while placing order for another 75 barrels of bitumen from the company.
ACC charged the thromde engineer and procurement officer for two counts of abuse of functions under section 58 (1) of the ACAB and three officials of the bitumen company for two counts of participation in an offence.
The commission also charged the company for ten counts of active bribery of foreign public servants for allegedly bribing foreign officials and three counts of tax evasion.
Meanwhile, ACC stated that all officials and companies involved should be made to restitute the amount to the government. The Office of the Attorney General is reviewing the case.
The Office of the Attorney General is reviewing the case.