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Former Naja gup faces tax embezzlement allegations

Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) investigation has found that a former gup of Naja gewog in Paro, Kado had allegedly embezzled Nu 62,228 of rural tax during his tenure 2012 and 2013. The gup completed his term in 2016.

The Office of the Attorney General is reviewing the case for probable prosecution.

The commission received the complaint in the form of Royal Audit Authority (RAA) report in September 2017. The investigation, which took more than five months, ended last month.

The gewog could not collect the rural tax for 2012 due to non-finalisation of the thram transfer after the national cadastral resurvey programme conducted between 2010 and 2011. The gewog administration also cited non-availability of gaydrung or the gewog clerk, who normally collects the taxes.

The gewog collects taxes levied for land, orchard, house, livestock, and grazing.

The taxes were collected for the two years in 2013 by the then gewog administration officer  (GAO) Phub Gyeltshen with the help of a former gup and money receipts duly given to villagers mentioning rural tax for the two years.

The GAO handed over the Nu 30,499 for 2012 and Nu 31,729 for 2013 to then Gup Kado in the presence of the incumbent GAO when he left for his new posting in Pemagatshel in 2014.   

Later that year, RAA detected that the rural tax for 2012 and 2013 was not accounted for or deposited in the gewog CD account. RAA fixed accountability on the former GAO Phub Gyeltshen as he collected the tax.

The following year, Phub Gyeltshen sought audit clearance to resign from service but the RAA asked him to clear audit memo in his name. He deposited the amount along with the 24 percent of the amount as penalty.

ACC stated, “Phub Gyeltshen had been wrongly held accountable by the RAA based on Kado’s misleading response to the audit team. In fact, it was Kado who had taken the tax collections amounting to Nu 62,228 from Phub Gyeltshen but had not deposited it in the gewog CD account.”

The commission stated that the gup despite receiving the money from the GAO had knowingly embezzled the amount for his own private gain by not depositing into the gewog account.

The former gup allegedly violated the local government rules and regulations 2012, which states that the gup shall ensure the collection and appropriation of taxes specified in section 57 of the Local Government Act 2000 not later than January 31 of every year.

“Such act is deemed inappropriate and liable for action if found guilty,” the commission stated.

The former gup is also alleged of misleading the RAA to dissociate himself from the wrongdoing.

“In doing so, Phub Gyeltshen had to go through the ordeal of not just being denied audit clearance for retirement purpose but also part away with the money.”

The commission suggested reimbursing the former GAO with the money he paid the RAA.

Tshering Palden 

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