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Judgment for five individuals deferred

Tashi Dema

Thimphu dzongkhag court’s criminal bench I sentenced the former Bhutan Development Bank Limited’s (BDBL) project officer, Pema Nidup, to 13 years in prison.

The December 31 judgment stated that he was given a concurrent sentencing for embezzlement, forgery, abuse of function, bribery, possession of unexplained wealth and deceptive practices.

He was actually sentenced to nine years in prison for 89 counts of embezzlement through illegal enhancement of loan amounting to more than Nu 403 million (M), another nine years for embezzlement through forging cheques, nine years for abuse of function, three years for forging disbursement memo, three years for passive bribery, one year for deceptive practice and one year for unexplained wealth.

Pema Nidup was taken under police custody right after the judgment.

Of the 11 clients who were taken to court for their involvement in the case, the judgement was deferred for Penden Dorji of Druk Lhayul Construction, stating the prosecutors could not prove how he colluded with Pema Nidup.

Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged him for eight counts of participation in embezzlement for illegally enhancing his loan amount to Nu 96.1M and three counts of forging cheque.

The court sentenced Sonam Wangyal of T.T Wangyal Automobile in Olakha to three years in prison for active bribery. He was found guilty of gifting Pema Nidup a blue Veloster (car) worth Nu 1M. The judgement for his participation in embezzlement through illegal enhancement of loan amount to Nu 3.2M is deferred.

Sonam Wangyal’s brother Kinley Nidup, who was also charged for participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement of Nu 500,000 was not sentenced. The judgment was deferred.

Another client, Zangla, who operates Bhutan Enterprise in Olakha, was sentenced to one year in prison for active bribery. He was found guilty of giving Nu 150,000 to Pema Nidup. The judgment for his participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to more than Nu 129M was deferred.

The court also deferred judgment for Karchung of Zombala Furniture and drayang, was charged for participating in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to Nu 7M.

Rinzin of Jangchub Builders Private Limited based in Thimphu was sentenced to six months in prison for participation in deceptive practice for his involvement in the backhoe purchase.

The judgment for his participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to Nu 23M and active bribery for giving Nu 80,000 to Pema Nidup was deferred.

The court also deferred judgment for Rinzin’s younger brother Wangchuk, who was charged for participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to Nu 20.5M and active bribery of Nu 55,000.

Tenzin Jamtsho of Yargyel Earthmovers was sentenced to one year in prison for active bribery. He was found guilty of bribing Pema Nidup. He was also given a three months sentencing for participation in deceptive practice for his involvement in the backhoe case.

The judgment for his participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to Nu 63M was deferred.

Nim Dorji of Speedway Grocery in Thimphu was sentenced to one year in prison for active bribery. He was found guilty of bribing Pema Nidup while enhancing loan for his mother Thuji Zangmo.

Although OAG charged Thuji Zangmo, the charges were later framed against Nim Dorji as she submitted a letter to the court stating she gave authorisation to her son and he is the one who deals with the loan.

The judgment for Nim Dorji’s bribery charge was deferred.

The court also deferred judgment for Jamyang Dorji of JYD, who was charged for 10 counts of participation in embezzlement through illegal loan enhancement amounting to Nu 7.1M and active bribery of Nu 50,000 was deferred.

The court, however, ordered all the clients who enhanced their loan amounts to restitute the money within six months.

Meanwhile, the case surfaced in November 2016. The Anti-Corruption Commission CC investigated the case on December 6, 2016, after police forwarded the case to the commission.

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