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PDP refutes allegations of corruption against its ministers

Staff Reporter  

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) clarified yesterday that the decision to award the contract Package XV of the Northern East-west Highway Project (NEHP) to Empire Construction was made to prevent delays and economic losses for the country. 

The party’s statement was in response to news about an alleged corruption case that the Anti-Corruption Commission forwarded to the Office of Attorney General involving two of its former ministers.

The former finance and works and human settlement minister, Kuensel learnt, are alleged of abuse of power in relation to contravening procurement rules and directly awarding construction work Empire Construction. 

According to the party’s press release, the case pertains to widening a rocky road stretch critical for completing the Mangdechhu Hydropower Project Authority (MHPA).  

The PDP’s press release stated that due to delays and associated risks, it was decided, through joint meetings involving relevant stakeholders, to make the contractor surrender the contract and accept compensatory work to prevent delays, economic losses and risk to people’s lives.

“This decision was made to prevent delays and thus a potential loss of Nu 22 million per day from MHPA power generation,” the party stated. “These decisions were made collectively through various levels of meetings and were in accordance with procurement rules.”

The party also claimed that audit memos were not brought to the knowledge of the individuals involved, depriving them of an opportunity to clarify and justify their actions. 

The 2019 audit report stated that the Ministry of Finance had approved the direct award of work for pavement construction from Nobding to Dungdungnyelsa covering chainages from 395km to 392.25km with a total road stretch of 2.75km to Empire Construction. 

The direct award was based on the proposal submitted by the former minister for work and human settlement in lieu of the work made to surrender by the previous contractor under the Regional Office, Trongsa, according to the report. 

However, Anti-Corruption Commission could not be contacted. 

The party also stated that it acknowledges and respects the findings of the relevant agencies for forwarding the case to the Office of the Attorney General. “However, it is surprising that a matter from 2016 is actively being pursued on the eve of the election.” 

“PDP believes the action is politically motivated to damage the reputation of the party,” the press release stated.