On the first day of hearing at the Construction Development Boards arbitration committee the Ministry of Information and Communication Deputy Executive Engineer, Gyem Dorji admitted that there had been lapses and overpayment in the construction of the Gelephu airport.
As per the Royal Audit Authority report Nu 78.27 mn had been overpaid for surfacing of the airport and the MoIC and the Department of Civil Aviation had been accordingly instructed to recover the amount.
The construction company Tashi Kunzom who had constructed the Gelephu airport had brought this issue among other grievances before the arbitration committee against the MoIC saying that he had not been overpaid.
According to a reliable source the engineer representing MoIC disagreed with the contractor and in fact admitted that there had been some errors due to which the contractor was overpaid.
The MoIC representative was also there to represent the MoIC against the other claims of the contractor.
The contractor had approached the arbitration committee when the MoIC based on the RAA report had sent a letter to the contractor asking him to repay the overpaid amounts and redo some work.
The RAA report had also shown Nu 24.94 mn in over payments for earthwork excavation and transportation. They came to this figure after a joint survey was done by officials of RAA, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement and the National Land Commission.
The RAA report had also uncovered Nu 23.67 mn in unjustified payments for transportation of spoil material.
In both the above cases arbitration committee members indicated that no arbitration could be done as it was a technical measurement issue. Some members suggested that the RAA could redo the measurement in the presence of the contractor for his satisfaction.
The RAA report, a copy of which has been sent to the Prime Minister and Anti Corruption Commission among other agencies points out Nu 121.61 mn in illegal overpayments and Nu 114.88 mn in wasteful expenditure on domestic airports.
The MoIC had until March 31st 2013 to give an action taken report on the issue to the RAA along with any further clarifications.
The Bhutanese which tried to get the latest status of MoIC’s action taken report was refused information by the ministry.