Businessman files constitutional case against BNB

A businessman, Penjore who lost a case over seized mortgaged properties to Bhutan National Bank (BNB), filed another case with the High Court citing his Constitutional rights last week.

The Supreme Court passed two verdicts on the case in favour of BNB, the second in November last year after Penjore appealed to His Majesty The King to command a review of the verdict.

Penjore argued that the present case is different. The businessman from Paro submitted to the High Court the alleged breaches of his rights by the Bumthang dzongkhag court and the bank.

Claiming Constitutional rights, Penjore asked the court to revisit the case from a different perspective.

Bumthang dzongkhag court passed a verdict in April last year after the bank lodged a loan default case against Penjore. The court ordered the bank to take over the property mortgaged with the bank if Penjore failed to pay the entire principle amount with interest to the bank. Subsequently the property, a three-star hotel, was floated for public auction.

The businessman is seeking the High Court to look at legal issues with the bank related to the loan he availed from it and compensate him for the losses he in the process.

Penjore submitted that the bank had not given him the entitled amount despite the loan agreement being valid up to September 30, 2028.

He claimed that the bank’s estimated cost of the hotel in Bumthang, for which he sought the loan, was Nu 34.386 million (M) and other mortgaged properties were worth more than the loan amount. He said he had signed an addendum to the loan agreement in September 2013 after clearing the due interests and installments. Despite that, the bank only gave him less than half the loan.

“The bank quoted a Royal Monetary Authority circular for their inability to continue giving the loan but that circular had nothing to do with my loan,” he said.

He submitted that the bank’s letter to the Druk Punjab National Bank, which could have given him a loan, had stopped it.  He asked if the bank could do that and asked the court to penalise the bank.

“As the bank had stopped loans indefinitely, I could not do any business for the past three years for which I suffered loss,” he said. He asked the bank to compensate a total amount Nu 37.7M.

Since the bank did not issue a clearance letter, he could not avail loans from any other bank and thus suffered loss amount to Nu 62.4M, Penjore claimed in his letter to the High Court.

The Bhutan National Bank’s legal representative during a hearing at the Supreme Court last year submitted that the loans were held as he defaulted on numerous loans from the bank. He said they were only implementing the verdict of the Bumthang dzongkhag court.

Staff Reporter

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