Case involves several accounts of criminal conspiracies, including abettor of mutiny and misappropriation of RBG fund

 Rinzin Wangchuk and  Tshering Palden

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) yesterday charged three top officials from the judiciary and the Royal Body Guards (RBG) at the Thimphu dzongkhag court.

The case involves several accounts of criminal conspiracy, including abettor of mutiny, nepotism and favouritism, misappropriation of RBG fund and fictitious documents to secure loans.

Kuensel learnt that the senior-most justice of the Supreme Court, Kuenlay Tshering and the Pemagatshel dzongkhag drangpon Yeshey Dorji, were booked with three and two charges respectively, and seven charges against the former Royal Body Guard commandant, Brigadier Thinley Tobgye.

The Royal Bhutan Police investigated the case after arresting a woman, Khandu Wangmo, in connection with seditious allegations last year. She is also facing 11 charges in the present criminal conspiracy case.  The alleged collusion and criminal conspiracy against the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Royal Bhutan Army by the trio was exposed following the arrest of Khandu Wangmo who is also being tried at the Thimphu dzongkhag court.

According to sources, in 2015, Justice Kuenlay Tshering allegedly assisted Khandu Wangmo secure a scholarship in the United Kingdom. He was one of the panellists during an interview for the scholarship.

He is charged with criminal conspiracy, favouritism, nepotism, obstructing the arrest and prosecution of Khando Wangmo, and misuse of authority. He is also charged for editing documents regarding the corruption allegations against the COO of the RBA that was sent to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Pemagatshel drangpon Yeshey Dorji, who is the former husband of Khando Wangmo, is charged for posting documents anonymously to the ACC. He allegedly availed Nu 8 million from the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan by submitting documents of fictitious shopkeepers alongside mortgaging his parents land in Gelephu. 

The drangpon availed the loan to repay more than Nu 6 million that Khando Wangmo had borrowed from the RBG’s commandant. It is alleged that the amount was paid to the commandant with an additional Nu 500,000 that he embezzled and for which the OAG charged him.

Thinley Tobgye is also charged with illegally obtaining documents including procuring United Nations vehicles from the RBA headquarters. The documents were collected to frame corruption charges against the COO.

For this, Thinley Tobgye was charged with abettor of mutiny. The Penal Code of Bhutan states that a person shall be guilty abettor of mutiny, if person abets the committing of mutiny by an officer or soldier of the armed forces. The offence is graded a third-degree felony.

He also allegedly issued a pistol and an RBG officer’s uniform set to Khandu Wangmo. He is charged for issuing a firearm to an unauthorised person.

Police arrested him in early December and was placed in quarter guard in Thimphu. The other two were arrested on February 16 after office hours.

During the miscellaneous hearing yesterday, the defendants requested for bail which the court denied. The OAG prosecutors submitted the charges to the court and they were read out to the parties yesterday. 

The preliminary hearing of the case will be held within 10 days. The defendants would receive a copy of the charges then.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, Kuensel also learnt that a high ranking police official has been suspended for a few months now. It is learnt that the OAG advised police to take administrative action against the official.