Most of the cases are in Phuentsholing

Phajo Nidup extensively bribed NLC, Bank, Thromde and RSTA officials on his journey to a Nu 800 mn NPL

For a long time, people wondered how Phajo Nidup, a 35-year-old former monk with no educational qualification could dupe the many Banks, Phuentsholing Thromde, National Land Commission (NLC) and Road Safety and Transport Authority despite the many checks and systems, but the truth is much more simple.

Phajo gave bribes extensively to junior and mid-level officials in these organizations above to get his work done with no questions asked, even if what they were doing was illegal.

The Anti Corruption Commission in its investigation found that just in the NLC he had bribed 3 officials there so that he could print 15 duplicate lagthrams from 2017 to 2019.

The duplicate lagthrams meant that even if Phajo’s original lagthrams were with the banks, he could use it again to secure loans from other banks on the same lagthram thus engaging in double and even triple mortgages.

The bribes given to the three NLC officials were from Nu 80,000 to around Nu 140,000 each given on different occasions. There are bank deposit records to show he had paid the bribes to them.

Phajo would give the bribes on different occasions in installments of Nu 10,000 and Nu 20,000 as reward for getting his work done.

Phajo had also resorted to bribing people in the Banks so that his loans could get facilitated, his double and triple mortgages would not be questioned, he could enhance his loans etc.

Otherwise normally banks have a very stringent system when people apply for loans.

Not to be left out Phajo also bribed people in Phuentsholing Thromde as this was the place where banks and people would check if Phajo’s Thrams had loans against them or not.

There were many instances such records were not kept and so Phajo could keep taking double and triple mortgages.

He also bribed people in RSTA as fake blue books allowed Phajo to take loans against these books.

Phajo is understood to have confessed to the bribes to the ACC and they were in both cash and kind. One of the in kind bribes was furniture.

Phajo chose to bribe officials at the more junior levels as they would often have financial problems and thus be more vulnerable.

ACC has never encountered such a wide network of bribery in its investigations so far.

In the meantime, Phajo owes BoB (37 loan accounts), BDBL (17 loan accounts), RICBL (7 loan accounts), Druk PNB (6 loan accounts), T-Bank (6 loan accounts) and BNB (1 loan account) a total sum of around Nu 800 million (mn) in Non Performing Loans.

Many of these loans have been double and some even triple mortgaged with the same Thrams.

There are around 50 thrams that either belong to him directly or that he has bought from others.

There are around 60 civil cases against Phajo of which around 28 are with the banks and the rest are with private parties over land and money transactions.

The cases are mainly in Phuentsholing and Chukha, but some are also in Thimphu and Paro.

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