Sunday, February 25, 2024

JHADC CEM faces another fund misuse charge

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RTI revelation indicates MB Rymbai’s role in Rs 1.15-cr scam

SHILLONG: A day after his name cropped up in a Rs 1.18 crore scam, JHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM) Madonbai Rymbai has landed up in fresh trouble with another RTI finding indicating his involvement in the misappropriation of funds up to the tune of over Rs 1.15 crore in relation to the payment of compensation for acquisition of land for the Jowai bypass.
RTI activists Deimon Phawa, Arlin Dkhar and Friday Sana filed an FIR in Jowai police station in this regard on Monday and demanded the arrest of the JHADC CEM and three other functionaries of the Khliehtyrshi village for their alleged role in the scam.
With the JHADC elections just round the corner, Rymbai’s woes seem to be swelling by the day.
On Sunday, RTI documents had revealed that Rymbai allegedly misappropriated funds of the JHADC by making his near and dear ones including his wife, brothers and mother beneficiaries of several schemes of the Council.
While addressing newsmen here on the latest revelation, the RTI activist from Khliehtyrshi village, Phawa said that RTI documents imply that Rymbai in connivance with the members of the local Dorbar Shnong misappropriated funds amounting to over Rs 1.15 crore released by the West Jaintia Hills District Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) since September 27, 2010 for land acquisition and implementation of the proposed Jowai bypass. Rymbai also allegedly forged land documents to claim ownership to 34,270 square metre of land that originally belonged to Lumpohsiej locality in  Khliehtyrshi  and even claimed compensation for it.
As per the RTI findings, a total amount of Rs 1,15,05,947.60 meant for compensation to be given for land acquisition had been withdrawn in the name of Rymbai who is also the sitting MDC of Khliehtyrshi.
“As per RTI report, Rymbai was only authorized to collect the money from the revenue department and return the same to the Dorbar Shnong. Instead, he has kept the money in his custody since September 29, 2010 thus making it a clear cut case of theft and misappropriation of funds,” Phawa said.
“The members of the Dorbar Shnong, who are party to the scam, include headmen, Kitbok Rymbai, who is also the CEM’s younger brother, village chairman Emdor Rymbai and former village headman Dr W Ryngkhlem,” the RTI activist said.
“They have abused the authority of the executive committee of the Dorbar Shnong by keeping the villagers in the dark about the funds meant for compensation to be given for land. This was done with the intention to misuse the public money,” Phawa said.
In the withdrawal receipts, the land measuring 34,270 square metres which originally belonged to the Lumpohsiej locality was also illegally changed to ‘Madonbai Rymbai Football Ground Dorbar Khliehtyrshi’ without the consent of the local authority, the RTI activist revealed.
Phawa said that several attempts were made by issuing show cause notices to the CEM and the village headman demanding a clarification on the issue but to no avail.
According to the locality head of Lumpohsiej, Kel Phawa, the people of the area were completely unaware that the land was illegally registered under the name of the MDC. “We were shocked to learn about it when the RTI report was made public to us in a meeting convened recently.”
Phawa said that the local people were kept unaware of the developments even when a survey was being conducted for land acquisition for implementation of the Jowai bypass.
The RTI activists have demanded a CBI enquiry into the alleged embezzlement of public money by the CEM and his aides.
Denying any political game behind the RTI expose, the activists said they only wanted to ensure that the rights and welfare of the people were not compromised with.
UDP demands Rymbai’s arrest: Stating that the party is perturbed by the scam which unfolded in the JHADC, the UDP meanwhile, has demanded that JHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM) Madonbai Rymbai should be immediately arrested for committing a financial fraud which is a serious criminal offence.
“We also demand that that the authority should bar Rymbai from contesting the upcoming JHADC elections,” UDP secretary Allantry F Dkhar said here on Monday.
He said that this is a big let down by the head of an institution which is meant to preserve, protect and uphold the interest of the indigenous community.
“We have also sought the views from the party’s district body which is expected to take meaningful action by tomorrow,” the UDP secretary added.

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