Case 09/2015 – Bhutan Post Messenger

The Commission conducted an investigation into allegation of fraud and embezzlement of funds by one Messenger of the Bhutan Postal Corporation Limited (Bhutan Post), Thimphu. Bhutan Post provides Local Urgent Mail (LUM) Service to forty agencies within Thimphu after signing an agreement. LUM entails delivery and collection of mail services such as International Express Mail Services (IEMS), Domestic Express Mail Services (DEMS), Registered Letters (RL) and Ordinary Letter (OL) services between different offices/agencies within Thimphu. International and domestic mails from and to these offices are also carried by LUM. Bhutan Post also provides credit facilities to the LUM offices which are bulk mailers as value addition. The accounts for the same are settled periodically. A dedicated Messenger is assigned to a group of clients. The accused was assigned for the group of clients which included inter alia Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Bhutan Information Communication and Media Authority (BICMA), United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE).

 The investigation found that the accused had falsely claimed and embezzled a total of Nu. 5.106 million from the LUM offices (majority being from the ECB) within a period of five years. He had colluded with front desk staff in the ECB enabling him to falsely claim and embezzle funds from the ECB. The investigation discovered that the accused engaged in three ways of siphoning bill collections. In his first modus operandi, he replaced actual invoices issued by his office with his own. This allowed him to fabricate and inflate the amount by Nu.50,000 to Nu.60,000 each time. He manipulated the rate and quantity with respect to OL since others could not be manipulated due to machine printed receipts.  He managed to steal two bill books which he used in fabricating the invoices as and when he wanted. From 2011 to 2015, he siphoned Nu.4.991 million in this manner. His second modus operandi entailed manipulating money receipts on advances received from LUM offices. He issued money receipts to LUM offices but in the second copy which he accounted to his office, he understated the actual value thereby pocketing the difference. In his third modus operandi, he would save blank money receipts whenever he was assigned to the counter services since many customers would not bother to ask for receipts. Under such circumstances he would fill in the second copy of the receipts with correct transaction information knowing that it would have been retained in the office. However, he would deliberately keep the original folio blank and later use it to issue receipts against the forged bills raised to LUM offices. In this way, he could keep the entire amount to himself as there was no corresponding second copy in the office.

 The Commission referred the case to OAG for prosecution on 30 December 2015.

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