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OAG reviews fraud and embezzlement case

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is reviewing the alleged fraud and embezzlement of more than Nu 8.822 million (M) by the former accountant, Chimmi Dorji of Phuentsholing drungkhag.

ACC’s investigation report includes the draft charges against Chimmi Dorji and assistant account of Wangduephodrang dzongkhag, Yeshey Tshering, together with supporting documents and exhibits for probable prosecution. The alleged embezzlement happened between 2014 and 2017.

The ACC lunched the investigation after the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) intimated the commission in February 2018 after they uncovered instances of fraud and corrupt practices perpetrated by Chimmi Dorji.

“The report indicated that Chimmi Dorji had misused and embezzled government funds of about Nu 6.567M between July 2015 to October 2017 by fraudulent practices including manipulation of accounting records and operations of Letter of Credit (LC) Account of the drungkhag administration,” ACC’s draft report with the OAG stated.

On the basis of the RAA referral, the ACC investigated the case extending the period of examination to the fiscal year 2014-2015 which was not covered by the audit. As RAA reported, the commission’s investigation detected gross misuse and embezzlement of government funds by Chimmi Dorji. The ACC also discovered that he siphoned more than Nu 2.245M from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

The modus operandi

ACC found that the former account resorted to double, excess and inadmissible booking of pay and allowances and other service entitlements, irregular adjustments of personal advances, creating ghost employees, and processing payments in the name of employees, who were either on extraordinary leave, transferred or retired from service.

Chimmi Dorji operated two saving accounts for crediting his salary and inflating the cheque amount to cover up for the shortfall against employees, mostly teachers, under drungkhag administration. In doing so, he had also forged and engaged in tampering of official documents.

Chimmi Dorji is alleged to have embezzled more than Nu 1.379M by booking salaries of 41 teachers and employees under Phuentsholing drungkhag for various months from 2014 to 2017. He knowingly booked salaries for certain months and was not credited to their accounts.

ACC also found that he misappropriated Nu 557,339 through double booking of salaries for 21 individuals and booked excess teaching allowances of four teachers to embezzle Nu 164,250. The investigation also revealed that the accountant knowingly booked double salary amounting to Nu 198,231 against various teachers.

He was also alleged to have misappropriated Nu 800,040, which was the salary for nine resungpas (voluntary forest vigilantes). He had knowingly booked resungpas’ salaries from drungkhag’s LC account. He also didn’t accounted fund transfer of Nu 462,601 received in his personal account as salary and allowances of a principal.

When an accountant in Wangduephodrang asked for fund transfer of two teachers, who were transferred from Rangaytung to Wangduephodrang, he transferred Nu 314,682 into his personal account. It was found that Nu 214,682 was transferred into the personal account of an officiating account officer in Wangduephodrang, Yeshey Tshering, and Nu 100,000 to a personal saving account of Sonam Tshering, who did not have any links to the teachers and Wangdue dzongkhag

The commission found that Chimmi Dorji booked double retirement benefits in the name of late Kinga Thinley of Chongaykha primary school and misappropriated Nu 195,872 and another Nu 88,218 from LTC and leave encashment.

The former accountant embezzled Nu 65,762 by creating ghost employees. He booked salary in the name of Chhophel, who he designated as teacher of Chumigthang school in 2015 using employee identity card of a resigned teacher. He also created a ghost employee in Dawa Gyeltshen’s name designated as caretaker of Chongaykha school and the amount was deposited into his daughter’s account.

He also misappropriated government fund of Nu 649,493 using two saving accounts. “Both saving accounts were credited with salaries of which he declared only saving accounts when declaring his asset,” the report stated.

Chimmi Dorji is also alleged for misappropriating Nu 354,823 cash payment, Nu 1.372M from encashment of remittances through self-cheque, Nu 293,016 through wrong booking of remittances, Nu 134,000 by irregularly creating a statutory receipt balance of Nu 134,00 for the fiscal year 2017-18.

Probable charges                                

The ACC stated that the investigation established sufficient and satisfactory evidences to prosecute the case and that doing so would further the public interests.

“The commission has come to conclusion that the conduct of the former accountant fits within the meaning of embezzlement of public fund as defined under section 52 and false declarations with a view to conceal under the Anti-Corruption Act and forgery under the Penal Code,” it stated.

The commission recommended the OAG to charge Chimmi Dorji 158 counts of embezzlement of fund or securities by public servant, three counts of forgery and one count of false declaration.

Yeshey Tshering was implicated for misappropriation fund transfer amounting to Nu 214,682 by not accounting it in Wangdue dzongkhag LC account and one count of forgery as he had forged the revenue receipt and other voucher of June 30, 2017 by editing the original vouchers in MS word.

The ACC also recommended to restitute another Nu 4.574M from the accused. The RAA had already recovered Nu 4.247M.

Rinzin Wangchuk

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