English | Dzongkha Sunday, April 11, 2021

ACC seizes Nu 2.9 M from a suspect and a transport agency in alleged corruption in exporting gypsum

Apr 7, 2021

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) seized Nu 2.9 M in cash from Kumar Pradhan’s house and East Bhutan Private Limited, a transport agency in Samdrup Jongkhar. Kumar Pradhan is the marketing specialist with the State Mining Corporation. However, Nu 1.7 M was returned to the transport agency since the agency had withdrawn the cash to pay its employees. The ACC is investigating alleged corruption in exporting gypsum.

According to the ACC, Nu 1.2 M was seized from Kumar Pradhan. The ACC raided his home, office and the transport agency last month after the Samdrup Jongkhar District Court granted a search warrant. The commission stated there is an alleged misuse of power, lack of transparency and misuse of the public resource by a person for his benefit or the benefit of another person or entity.

Kumar Pradhan is suspected of abusing his authority in fixing rates for gypsum. There is also an allegation that the gypsum was sold at Nu 1,970 per ton from Bhutan and then exported to Nepal at Nu 5,500 incurring loss to the government. And the transportations were all done by the East Bhutan Private Limited.

The ACC’s letter also stated that Kumar Pradhan is a shareholder of the transport agency. The ACC said there is an alleged conflict of interest and the transport and export of gypsum was not as per the procurement rules and regulations. The issue came to the limelight after the ACC received an anonymous complaint earlier last month. BBS contacted the SMCL and Kumar Pradhan, and both said they have no comments.

Tshering Zam

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