The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) detained Chenda Tobgye on 3 March, 2013 in the Thimphu city police station in connection with the ongoing investigation of the Bangkok embezzlement case which first came to the light in late 2010.
The ACC had received the case from the Foreign Ministry in November end 2011.
The government forwarded the cases to ACC as there was a prima facie case of the corruption to be further investigated.
The case first came to light in late 2010 when top Bangkok hospitals stopped taking in VIP Bhutanese government patients on credit which was the norm earlier and instead these hospitals were asking for upfront cash payments.
Earlier a two member investigation team consisting of the former secretary of the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, Nima Wangdi and chief internal auditor of the foreign ministry, Karma Choeda was sent to Bangkok in April 2011.
The team found that 12mn bhat or Nu 18mn had not been paid to six major hospitals of Bangkok. Bumrungrad, Phyathai 2, Smaitivej, Bangkok hospital, Vibharam hospital and Rutnin eye hospital. Included in this Nu 18mn figure were bills of several private individuals who were not sent by the government and were yet to be identified. This was a surprising discovery as the unpaid bills are supposed to be only for government patients.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) released 13mn bhat or Nu 18mn as funds for outstanding medical bills in Bangkok pertaining to the former head of Chancery, Chenda Tobgye’s case. And the amount was routed through the Bhutan embassy in Bangkok which according to the finance ministry was to save the country’s image.
The hospitals in Bangkok was about to sue the royal government of Bhutan for the outstanding bills that had not been cleared and in order to save face, the ministry on behalf of Chenda Tobgye released the fund.
However the fund that was released will have to be refunded or accounted for by Chenda Tobgye.
Also the main person responsible for clearing these bills, Chenda Tobgye, had claimed to have suffered a ‘memory loss’ after which he was hospitalized for brain fever.
This bizarre development considerably complicated the case as Chenda Tobgye was in charge of the special medical budget in the embassy. This special medical budget was for the treatment of VIP patients like members of the royal family, ministers, and senior government officials and in some cases ordinary people sent on Kidu.
The process for sending these VIP government patients is that an estimated amount is sent to the embassy for the patient’s treatment. This money is transferred to a special medical budget account managed by Chenda Tobgye who was supposed to later settle the bills. If there was an excess or shortage of money sent by the finance ministry, Chenda Tobgye has to submit the accounts and ask for additional money in case of shortage.
Chenda Tobgye, on his completion of his term at the embassy, was transferred to back to the foreign ministry in Thimphu as a protocol officer.
He joined the office on September 12, 2011, but, after reporting to the ministry, he stayed on leave, and then on December 1, 2011, he was suspended by the ministry.