The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating Thimphu thromde’s newly constructed sewer lines in Thimphu particularly in Motithang, Taba, Yangchenphug and Kawajangsa after Royal Audit Authority (RAA) found corrupt practices involved in construction of sewer lines.
RAA found out that though the placement of manhole at various sites is one of the major components of the contract according to the contract report, there were no manholes visible.
ACC is currently digging the recently blacktopped road at various sites to verify the number of manholes as give in the contract report.
According to sources the ACC has found that in some stretches there is are no manholes to be found which may indicate that payment was made for works not done.
A Thromde official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “While auditing RAA was not able to see the manholes not because manholes were not constructed but because manholes were buried under the road after the road was blacktopped”.
He said, “In order to convince them that thromde has placed the required manholes as reflected in the contract report, we had to dig the road which has caused some inconveniences for commuters but we had to do it anyway because this is the only way to tell them that thromde has done our work”.
“However, we have to wait till the verification or investigation by ACC is over and it is only by the end of verification process that we will know how much manholes are there”, he added.
He further said, “As thromde official, I feel that manholes should be left visible because we need to open manholes from time to time whenever it needs maintenance. But if the manholes are covered, firstly we do not know where the manholes are located and we cannot do any maintenance work”.
He said, “According to international standard, manholes and road should be on the same level and if they are not on the same level, we can raise the level of manhole depending on the thickness of the road to be blacktopped. If they are not on the same level, there will be depression formed which will result into inconveniences while driving. After making sure that they are on the same level, while blacktopping of road, we should also ensure that manholes are left visible”.
“Thromde instructed contractors as well as site engineer before blacktopping of road that they should put a mark or indication on the footpath or elsewhere so that we know where the manhole is located. As they have not followed our instruction, a large stretch of roads were destroyed while looking for manhole in some places but we were told by ACC to repair the road and thromde is working on it”, he said.
The Sewerage networking project is divided into two phase sewerage networking in Motithang and Kawajangsa which started from 2018 to 2019 and sewerage networking in Taba and Yangchenphu which started from 2016 to 2017.
The ACC has suspended a Thromde engineer who was involved with the first stretch of the work.