Ministry says that it will release money for unpaid bills but will have to be refunded by ‘memory loss officer’ Chenda Topgay
The ministry of finance (MoF) recently released 13mn bhat or Nu 18mn as funds for outstanding medical bills in Bangkok pertaining to the former head of Chancery, Chenda Topgay’s case.
This amount will be routed through the Bhutan embassy in Bangkok.
According to the finance ministry, this step was taken in order to save the country’s image.
“The hospitals in Bangkok was going to sue the royal government of Bhutan for the outstanding bills that had not been cleared, so in order to save face, the ministry on behalf of Chenda Topgay has released the fund,” said the head of the administrative and finance division (AFD), MoF, Sonam Wangdi.
However, he said, the amount will have to be refunded by Chenda Topgay.
Currently, the finance ministry is waiting for the fund status statement from the embassy.
Meanwhile, Chenda Topgay, 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.
The Bangkok embassy case surfaced in 2010 when the Bangkok hospitals stopped taking in VIP government patients on credit as the hospitals were asking for cash payments in advance.
It was found that more than 13mn Bhatt had been unsettled in various hospitals. The bills meant for government patients included several private individuals.
Chenda Topgay was in charge of the special medical budget in the embassy sent by the government to the embassy for treatment of VIP or Kidu patients. He was supposed settle the bills and submit the accounts.
In the meantime Chenda suffered an apparent memory loss around the same time and was hospitalized.
He claimed that due to his illness he was unable to submit the accounts in time consequently resulting in default of payment to the hospitals.
Chenda Topgay had claimed that earlier even before his memory loss he was not enough time to work out the accounts and bills.
The government forwarded the case to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) in late November 2011.
According to the foreign ministry; Chenda Topgay had been given ample opportunity to settle the matter by way of accounts or refund the unspent balance, but, failed to do so, which was why the ministry had to forward the case to the ACC.
MoF AFD, Sonam Wangdi said that according to his knowledge, the embassy officials were still working on the verification of the outstanding bills, some of which has been cleared, “we still don’t know if the amount will be less or whether it will be more, we will have to wait and see,” he said.
The Bangkok Embassy report will be one of the cases that will be submitted in the upcoming session of the parliament in the form of audit annual report.