Bangkok Embassy case gives a double headache to OAG

Bumrungrad is one of the the six Bangkok hospitals that had Nu 18mn in unpiad medical bills for Bhutanese patients

The Office of the Attorney General is having a perplexing time with a part of the Bangkok Embassy case being forwarded to them from the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) while a major part of the case is under investigation with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC).

Sources in the OAG office say that the concerned officials working on the case have been having a difficult time trying to understand the case since there are many people involved.

The Bangkok embassy involves Nu 18mn in unpaid bills to prominent hospitals in Bangkok for Bhutanese government patients. The main officer Chenda Topgay claimed to have suffered a memory loss earlier.

In December 2011, the ministry came forward to explain the case; however, the OAG officials still did not get a satisfactory explanation.

Currently Chenda Topgay’s case is with the Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC) but Yeshey Dorji’s case has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA).

A source in the OAG office said that the Bangkok embassy case will have to be merged into one and that the ACC and the OAG will have work on the case together, otherwise the case would still be very confusing without adequate information.

Although the Chenda Topgay’s case was forwarded to ACC by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the ministry has not been forth coming with information. The OAG has sought the ministry’s help in getting better explanation on the Yeshey Dorji case.

Yeshey Dorji’s involvement in the Bangkok Embassy case is due to the fact that he had not kept proper accounts of the embassy’s financial bills. As soon as the money reached the embassy, Chenda Topgay used to withdraw them.

The Bangkok embassy case first came to light in 2010, when the RAA had detected cash shortage of Nu 2.391mn during the audit of the embassy at Bangkok. This shortage had occurred due to the understatement of cash balances in the cash book.

Currently, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is still waiting for the embassy to submit the reports on the statement of the fund status.

Earlier, this year, the ministry had released Nu 18mn as funds for outstanding medical bills in Bangkok pertaining to the former head of Chancery, Chenda Topgay’s case.

The releasing of the fund was done on the basis of saving the country’s image or else the hospitals in Bangkok was going to sue the Royal Government of Bhutan for the outstanding bills that had not been cleared.

The amount was to be routed through the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Bangkok.

The officials of the Bangkok Embassy have managed to collect reports from all the hospitals except for two.

According to the MoF, only after the embassy receives the statements from the remaining two hospitals, only then will it be able to submit a completed report.

The head of the AFD, MoF, Sonam Wangdi said they were still unaware on the status of the Nu 18mn fund, “we are yet to know whether the clearing of the outstanding bills have exceeded the fund or if it has been less,” said Sonam Wangdi.

It was reported that more than Nu 18mn bills had been unsettled in various hospitals and in the inclusion of the bills were of that several private individuals.

Since the funds were released on behalf of Chenda Topgay, he will have to refund the amount to the ministry, or else the government will take necessary actions against the former Chancery.

Chenda Topgay was suspended by the ministry for not reporting to work and Yeshey Dorji has been transferred somewhere in southern Bhutan. Both were unavailable for comment.

About Tashi Wangmo

32 comments

  1. For the whole nation, our country spend about 100 million for patients referral to India. Look at this case, 18 million was spend for few private individuals to be treated in Bangkok. This is my country. I canot be less proud of such injustices.

  2. The only thing this report has done is to confuse us even more, likewise, I am sure the ACC and OAG are also even more confused by this story. By the way, who is Yesey Dorji and for heavens sake, the correct way to say it would be that 18 million bills were not settled and not that 18 million bills were unsettled.

  3. I believe patient referred to Bangkok is less than 1% of the population and 18 million spent for them..DPT is this your definition of equity and justice?

  4. Till date we havent heard of sending bhutanese Paitents to Bangkok on governments expense. If it is the case can The Bhutanese Paper bring some light to the general Public who were the paitents treated at Bangkok and what diseases are treated there.

    Even our government cant afford to sent cancer paitent to calcutta by air most of the time they sent by Bhutan Post Bus.

  5. Wow! Wat a story..quite interesting n confusing too..the culprits shud be jaild without bail 4 selling our country’s talk(gyalkhab lo tsongmi)..pls thrw som light on this story

  6. Among the civil servants, serving in foreign diplomatic mission is the most privilaged posting but why the hell resorted to such malpractices. The accountability must be fixed instead of only chasing culprits. The head of mission or ambassador that time should partly be responsible for all these lapses.

  7. The only humour in this whole bkk embassy drama is that the ambassador got promotion as secretary of MOHA while this whole embarrassing episodes for our country happened right under his nose. This is how our PM rewards. Surely he has great sight to see competences… No wonder he and his accomplishes and his proceeders has been ruling bhutan for a long time,, that is why we are so gone case.

    • Yangzom,

      Please note that in an earlier story, it was clearly mentioned that the officer responsible for this mess was given the sole authority over the VVIP medical funds and that the kutshab had no authority over it. In hindisght, we may say that the Kutshab should have questioned the wisdom of the embassy in Bangkok not being given any control over such large sums of money, however, we also have to remember that some decisions made in Bhutan just cannot and are never questioned.

      So please stop putting the blame for the VVIP medical funds fiasco on the ambassador.

  8. some ministers, secretaries are given preferential treatments in bangkok hospitals,,, why, dont they go to india….. dashos or lyonpos who have cancers, etc,,, get treated for free making a huge hole in the govt funds….

    • I agree with you, it is high time these leeches stop sucking our government dry of it’s meagre resources. It is sad to note, that, while our VVIPs all travel by air to Bangkok for world class medical treatment, other unfortunate Bhutanese who are more seriously ill are sent by bus to Kolkata, a journey which takes over 20 hours and for all purposes the patients must be arriving at their destinations much more ill than when they left.

      As citizens, I think we need to make more noise as it is the nations money that is being used to treat only a few privileged people of our society. And to make it even more harder to digest, all these Lyponpos and big shots can all afford to pay their own medical bills.

  9. OM-The ultimate

    Should we forget what OAG and ACC have known about land grab cases?
    Most feminine visit to hospitals in Thailand is for delivary. High-end aums of our land manage to channelize embasies’ money for bussiness as well.
    Masculine visits to Thailand are unacceptable on such fora. Few of our countrymen are sent for studies and avail treatment there, our government will have to pay for that.
    Our embacies play a different game:
    If all ammounts embazzeled by Bhutanese Embacies were regularised, PPP of our ngultrum may rise by 15-25% against US $.
    Much of the contributions towards such embezzelments are facilated by flexible government policies and fueled by our inborn desire to ideolize this world with fertile thoughts of GNH. Large portion of detected embezelments are forgiven because people in weaker organizations, commissions and office fail to make a culprit pay. Rest are reflective of our honourable Lyonpos’ powers in sleeping land.

    Why do cases involving high profile personalities remain dormant for month and those involving humble reach OAG even for nu. 18 million?
    Another set to think is to find reasons why are we rushing with hrdyopower projects at loans? What is a driving force which bulldozes our assymetrical developments? why do we do it during such difficult times?
    Rated domain of thoughts about newly begun project:
    1. a good ammount of artha/finance involved will be embezeled,
    2. earnings/karma of Bhutanese people is being chanellized – Bhutanese earners are vehicles hiring agencies, cement and metal agents and contractors. Most if not all the trippers and Nissans in Punatsanchhu project belong to the them whose orders we laso(verb).
    3. We are slipping down in economic progress/Dharma.
    4. We are shaking our sovereignity of future/mokshya
    Third array of querries would surge us to examine, how happy are municipal authorities to dismantle makeshift house of poor in Urban centers, how happy were polices to arrest tobacco smuglers of Bhuddhaland, and NeoGandhian princibles of subtle degradation alligned palpable discrimination of some culture is all that keeps us happy. Embroydering this happiness with happiness we gain by constructing makeshift gates and by erecting ephimeral prayer flags to welcome a ‘laso’ (noun), it is evident we are happy, because we know nothing other than ‘happiness’ which is a word memorised, not a perception enjoyed.
    We have another journey to go, we are being pushed through a difficult and economically harsh pilgrimage by them who preach gross national happiness and practice ‘absolute personal happiness’.
    Learning about inflation which is our pride, rupee crunch and related human resource management, land survey policies and associated irregulatities and the government nurtured culture and tourism in south, it is palpable someone has succeeded in being the wrong person, if assumed he understands GNH.
    While nu 18 million is nothing to worry about, Bhutanese monks in Thailand if any, should be brought back, else they will die of AIDS- acquization of which, is only knowledge given to them by seasonal Bhutanese visitors.
    Had health minister been a woman, our gynology wards would not have been demons’ den, as they seem to our cherished aums, but not every women that partuates in our hospitals die so we can’t pay for someone’s leisure, neither should these offenders escape the law.
    If a woman can’t give birth at raw conditions, Darwinian biology argues that she is helping the nature to eliminate such traits from population, by definition natural destruction such traits is more benificial than saving if a population is to exist untill the very end.
    It is important that our soft-sex realize their niche and live appropriately, self generated emotional trauma of barberic mind that fears giving birth, should in no ways convert into economic adversity to our nation.

    • If you think 18 million is a small amount of money, than you must be living in a different planet, as for the rest of your story, I really could not understand anything.

    • I am confused too what you are saying. it is better to be short . Please summarize.

  10. MOHCA and PM should be penalised for promoting ambassador inspite of miscondut and frogery in bangkok embassy. If the head gets promoted then he should be also be demoted. We see only in bhutan that even if the organization is doing unwell still the head gets promoted, like in case of BNB, the CEO still survives,,,, i dont know what is the agenda of PM,,,,, i think this people are related to him or his wife,,, that is why he is favouring them,,,,,,,,,,,, 

    • I think you are getting too emotional and not thinking properly, if you have something against the ambassador, please explain why he should be responsible for the medical funds mess. I mentioned earlier that he had no authority over the money which was being managed directly by the officer who misapproriated it.

    • We need to change DPT in the next election. Only then we can change this system. We need new young leaders to root out the old system.

  11. Ambassador should be penalized as it happened during his tenure. This happens only in Bhutan, he got promoted for not carrying out duties properly. 
    It blows my mind why were high level people and their families sent to BNgkok for treatment, it would have cost way less in India for the same treatment. This is taking advantage of the system.

  12. I have nothing against ambassador, may be the THE MONK is not getting the whole point here. It is about accountability, leadership. If you can’t manage a small office of less than 10 people in bkk ambassy where they work on leisure then do u think they will work from 9-5 in ministry. U just have to use ur brain to analyze. I dont think so, all the matters of millions does not get approved with the approval and signature of ambassador if it does then what is the use of ambassador.

    Then any tom, dick and harry can be ambassador and not take the responsibility. U can also be the ambassador. Once u r appointed as the head, no matter what,, u r liable and accountable for all the things happening under ur eyes. This will send a clear message to the heads that they are not just benchwarmer but also to itch their head and loose some hair… 

    In any organization there are admin, finance and etc to look after the day to day matters but all this unit head reports to the Ambassador to update and for approval, this is the SOP of any organization. If this is not followed, then I dont know what is embassy doing and how it functions, this clearly reflects the incompetence, unprofessionals of govt to organize an organization and its functions..

    • If the Ambassador had the authority over the medical funds, I would be the first one to crucify him, please note that in this case, the VVIP medical funds were sent directly to the officer in charge and all the accounts pertaining to the same were then forwarded to the ministry of finance, only, after which more funds would be released. Maybe it is time for you to question the person or the office from Bhutan who did not feel the need for the Bhutanese embassy in Bangkok to be involved in managing the VVIP medical funds and instead made the head of chancery the sole aunthority over it. If the Ambassador was somehow resposible, I am sure the ACC would have questioned him too, given that the ACC has even taken the PM and the Je Khenpo to task over the Gyelpozhing land sccam.

      I agree with your SOP analysis, however, in this case, it seems that the Ambassador was deliberately not made the authority over the funds and for reasons best known to the Ministry of Finance. It maybe appropriate for you to find out the truth from the MOF, instead of slandering the Ambassador for no fault of his.

    • From what I have read in today’s kuensel, the Bangkok Embassy alone is responsible to the tune of Nu.180m irregularities from among the diplomatic missions and embassies under the MoFA. No matter what FS may try to explain left and right justifying his stand that it is not only MoFA which is involved but also various agencies including palace may not be an answer for solution since the fund has been channelised through their embassy AFD in Bangkok. It is the collective responsibility for every one right from the Minister in charge, FS to Ambassador himself for not overseeing the affairs when it came to medical referral cases for VVIP/VIP or Ordinary Persons. We have not heard even a word from the previous Ambassador for this serious lapses which occurred right under his nose during his tenure. In fact he has been recalled to become the Secretary of MoHCA without having to even face a slightest of enquiry proceedings. What surprised us more was the appointment of Nima wangdi as a second Ambassador in bangkok without any proper portfolio being provsioned in any Embassy for such an additional requirement of post besides a residential ambassador level diplomatic cadre level. Nima just jumped over to clinch the lucrative posting by doing nothing sacrificing over his secretarial level appoinment in the Ministry as he has not many years left for supernuation. He also got promoted to MoWHS Secretary replacing the technocrat incumbent secretary then in 2007 while serving as Thrompoen where he got out of turn promotion to Gr. 2 cadre and then to secretary MoWHS immediately thereafter. Every one of us know that the Centenary farmers’ market which was built by him had to be rebuilt within a couple of months time incurring double exxpenditure over and above the soaring estimated projection because it had to be hurried up for completion before the coronation time. So many of our friends have benefitted in terms of promotion, Soilras, incentives and what nots even after they have proven to be disasters in their roles and respnsibilities. And we the bhutanese have no inclination to own up any responsibilty of such an irregularities whether in civil service, FIs, PCs or autonomous agencies rather they will fly high with greater weights and decorations.

  13. Yangzom wrote: “ We see only in bhutan that even if the organization is doing unwell still the head gets promoted, like in case of BNB, the CEO still survives,,,, i dont know what is the agenda of PM,,,,, i think this people are related to him or his wife,,, that is why he is favouring them,,,,,,,,,,,, “

    Yangzom,

    How sure are you on the correctness of this statement? As far as I am concerned, I do not think that our futuristic and a better reforms leaning PM would not be a party into affairs of such distasteful kinds. BNB no doubt needed an overhaul longtime, but, somehow, we keep seeing him there running the show for a timeless period against the wishes of the masses. Once elsewhere in some other forums, Bhutanese public almost went berserk over BNB CEO matter. Yet, today, this guy is there sitting on this CEO post in peace. If our PM knowingly chooses this variable path against his otherwise praiseworthy principle, then, only time will do the talking.

  14. Looks like somebody is attached to the ambassador,,, i understand if u r supporter of him, no wonder your words smell sweet, i am scared of getting diabetics. I know how it feels if ambassador has to be blamed,,, u will not be happy, employees should be like you,,, i have no doubt that u will soon be promoted due to ur loyalty whether the boss is right or wrong,,, boss is always right… 

    see u dasho

    • Haha Yangzom,

      So finally nothing to say except to accuse others of being attached to the ambassador etc, I have made my arguments which you have conveniently chosen to ignore and by the same token I can accuse you of hating the ambassador because until now I have not seen you write anything about other corruption issues and in regard to the Kutshab you just won’t let go.

  15. you should open ur eyes ap nakpey, the world is changing around u… time to wake up and dont get carried away by good personality, Gyelpozhing is still there.

  16. i know u r related to ambassador, that is why u r supporting him. it is ok,,,, since u r so much into ambassador side, i dont want to hurt u, so i declare him innocent ok,,, 

    THE MONK, now u r happy?????? by the way how r u related to him….

    • Who care’s whether u declare him innocent, anyway good try, me getting hurt, haha, I have nothing to gain or lose, whatever may happen to the ambassador.

  17. i still know u r his relative,, what will u get by supporting him, please tell me? Or are you paid by him to support him

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