… eventually, the couple became homeless and landless after court rulings

Rinzin Wangchuk  

In early 2019, Yangki, 34, hatched a plan to construct a building for Karma and his wife Namgay at Dangrina, Dechencholing on their 28.2 decimal land with a business loan from a bank. The couple already had a two-storey structure.

Yangki obtained two trade licenses in Namgay’s name and designed the building with the help of her friends in Thimphu Thromde office. She even surveyed and demarcated the plot for construction.

With all these arrangements, Yangki lured the couple to apply for a bank loan mortgaging their land. Her motive was to avail the loan and not construct the building.

However, her plans failed since the trade license Namgay owned was not an established business as required by the bank, according to police investigating the nexus of fraudulent practices.

Without the knowledge of the land owner, Yangki then colluded with a businessman in Babesa, Sonam. They applied for a business loan of Nu 10M from Druk PNB Bank by using Sonam Enterprise’s trade license and mortgaged the 28.2 decimal land. The bank approved the loan on March 7, 2019.

Both Yangki and Sonam, who reportedly agreed to split the loan amount opened a joint overdraft (OD) account. They withdrew Nu 10M after five days.

Yangki claimed that of the Nu 10M, she had given Nu 1M to the couple and kept Nu 4M for herself. The balance amount Nu 5M was used by Sonam. “Surprisingly, the loan money receipt was issued by Namgay, wife of Karma,” an investigation officer said. “It indicates that Namgay was involved in the loan transaction.”

As the loan defaulted, Druk PNB Bank pressured Yangki and Sonam to clear their outstanding dues. Yangki then asked Namgay to pay the loan installment. Since Namgay didn’t have money, Yangki paid Nu 0.9M to the bank with the understanding that Namgay would pay her back later. It was in April 2020.

Meeting the loan shark 

Before 2017, Karma had 43 decimals. It was fragmented into two plots – 14.8 decimals and 28.2 decimals.  The 14.8-decimal plot was sold in 2017.

Since Yangki had a Lagthram copy of the 43-decimal land, she allegedly devised a new idea to get back her Nu 0.9M from Namgay and pay off the Druk PNB loan. She allegedly hoodwinked Namgay and took her to a couple, who is also believed to be one of the loan sharks, living in Langjophakha. Yanki introduced Namgay to the couple, Dechen and Tshewang, that she wanted to sell a plot of 15 decimal from 43 decimal land.

On the pretext of transacting 15 decimal land, they executed a sale deed for Nu 6.025M and reflected as Nu 4.025 paid in cash and that the balance amount would be paid after transferring the ownership.

However, the actual cash paid was Nu 2M at the rate of 10 percent interest per month. While handing over the cash to the seller, Dechen’s husband Tshewang took a photo to prove that the payment was made. Tshewang then reportedly took back Nu 500,000 as commission and another Nu 400,000 as advance payment of interest for two months.

Police investigation established that Yangki took Nu 0.9M as a refund for loan dues she paid to the Druk PNB Bank. In the end, Karma’s wife Namgay received Nu 0.2M only.

The arrest warrant

In the same year in 2020, Thimphu dzongkhag court issued an arrest warrant to Namgay after she failed to pay Nu 0.4M to another woman for a kira business. Namgay sought Yangki’s help to clear her dues.

Both colluded to sell the 28.2 decimal land. A businessman, Damcho agreed to buy the plot for Nu 2M with the condition that the agreement be signed by the legitimate owner, Karma.

In this case, Yangki’s husband Tashi, Namgay, and her sister, a broker, and the land buyer Damcho went to Karma’s house to sign the agreement. The sale deed was already made before they proceeded to Dangrina.

Upon reaching Dangrina, Namgay, and two others went to see Karma who was at his sitting room. Damcho and Tashi waited outside.  While the couple started quarreling, Namgay sent her sister and broker out.

Namgay came out with signed documents later. To convince Damcho, Namgay took a photo of her husband signing the document. The photo actually was from the previous agreement signing, according to police.

They returned to Yangki’s office where Damcho paid Nu 2M in advance. To revoke Namgay’s arrest warrant and pay the court, she had given Nu 0.4M to Yangki.

Yangki also picked Nu 200,000 each for three individuals – Yangki, her husband, and the broker, as commission because her husband and broker found a buyer for Namgay.  However, Yangki paid only Nu 100,000 to the broker.

From the remaining advance, Yangki paid Nu 1.3M  to her staff and a woman whom Namgay owed money. From Nu 2M, Namgay received only Nu 50,000.

During the investigation, Karma claimed to have not signed the sale deed. Police suspect Namgay to have forged her husband’s signatures and other documents.

Wife lands in jail

The duo, Yangki and Namgay, used the same modus operandi with the Lagthram copy of 43 decimal land. They informed their friends about the availability of land for sale.

One client from Punakha, Kado, bought the land and paid an advance of Nu 4M through his granddaughter’s husband Kezang. The transaction was carried out between Kezang and Namgay with Yangki as a witness. While the money receipt was issued by Namgay, she denied receiving Nu 4M from Kado or Kezang.

The investigating police officer said it was a mystery how Nu 4M disappeared among Namgay, Yangki, and Kezang, Kado’s representative. “None of them agreed,” a police officer said, adding that they accused each other.

Kado could not transfer the land ownership to his name because of the different thrams and plot size. He then filed a civil case against Namgay. The court ruled that Namgay must refund the advance money along with three years of interest from 2020 to 2022.  The total amount she has to pay to Kado increased from Nu 4M to Nu 5.75M.

However, Namgay refused to pay and challenged that she didn’t receive the said money. The judgment was enforced and Namgay was put behind the bar in April last year.

While investigating the issue, police discovered a duplicate thram copy of 43 decimal land from Ugyen, who does real estate business. The land was sold for Nu 3.5M to a couple who runs a mobile shop in Thimphu. The court also ruled that Namgay must refund money to the couple.

Police sources said that illegal transactions of land wouldn’t have happened had the original lagthram copy of 43-decimal land been surrendered to the competent authority when the land was fragmented into thrams in 2017.

Homeless and landless

Namgay, Yangki, and Sonam had not paid loan installments to the Druk PNB. The default loan amounted to Nu 30M including Sonam’s own business loan. Yangki’s partner Sonam paid Nu 3M for his loan and withdrew his wife’s property mortgaged with the bank.

Sonam then looked for a buyer to sell the 28.2 decimal land. Namgay was involved in selling her husband’s land to Choden, who returned from Australia, at Nu 20M with the agreement executed on April 6, 2021.

Knowing that the sale deed and other documents were forged, Choden sued the couple in the Thimphu dzongkhag court in June 2021. The case was resolved through annexed mediation and passed judgment in favour of Choden on July 2, 2021.

Choden also agreed to clear the outstanding loan amount of Nu 9.5M with Druk PNB and Nu 2M borrowed from Dechen and Tshewang in Langjophakha. She also paid Nu 1.19M to Damcho.

Karma came to know only when officials appeared at his doorstep to enforce the judgment. He was detained for about two months for refusing to vacate his house. Kuensel learnt that Karma is now living with his relatives.

Police are also looking into how the same lawyer represented both defendant Namgay and plaintiff Choden in court.

Two more female victims  appeared at the Thimphu police station to complain against Yangki yesterday.