… Acquitted most of the charges  

Thinley Namgay 

Thimphu District Court recently sentenced former Minister of erstwhile Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) Ngeema Sangay Tshempo and Director General (DG) of the Department of Employment and Human Resources (DoEHR),  Sherab Tenzin, to two years in prison for multiple corruption-related cases.

The court also sentenced the assistant programme officer of  DoEHR, Ugyen Tashi, to a year in prison. However, all three convicts can pay thrimthue.

Charges against four other defendants were dropped.

There were 16 charges against seven accused, but the court acquitted 13 stating that there was no adequate evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Of the four charges against Sherab Tenzin, he was convicted of abuse of his functions in the registration of the Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) Agency.

BEO Agency, despite the lack of required documents, got registered in 2016.  BEO didn’t submit documents of its business affiliation aboard and contract agreement.

Sherab Tenzin explained that he was not responsible for it and that it has to be looked after by other department officials. However, the court ruled out that he should be responsible for such a lapse being the DG.

One of the charges against Sherab Tenzin was on the grounds of failure to declare a conflict of interest. ACC accused Sherab Tenzin of solicitation and acceptance of favour from Manav Dhingra, head of operations for the International Institute of Hospitality and Wellness Studies (IIWS) to set up a tissue paper business for his son, Kelzang Ninda.

Sherab Tenzin denied any association with Manav Dhingre.  According to the judgment, ACC did not have evidence to prove.

ACC investigation found that despite conflict of interest with Manav Dhingre, Sherab Tenzin participated as a member of the ministerial tender committee (MTC) on September 30, 2016 for the third tender of theGuaranteed Overseas Employment through Training (GOET) programme.

Sherab Tenzin was acquitted of charges related to deception and official misconduct.

Of the six charges against former MoLHR Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, he was convicted for false asset declaration in 2017 as he failed to declare the excavator and the hiring agency run by him and his wife, Namgay Lhamo.

According to ACC, the excavator and the hiring agency were in the name of Lyonpo’s niece, Pema Tshomo Sherpa, with Dilu Giri as a partner.

ACC argued that although the hiring agency was in the name of Pema Tshomo Sherpa, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo and his wife had assisted with the loan from BoB by telling the bank officials that they are the real owner. ACC said that the husband and wife duo were running the agency when Pema Tshomo Sherpa was in Japan.

Ngeema Sangay Tshempo was found not guilty of two deceptive practice charges, two charges of larceny by deception, and official misconduct.

The assistant programme officer of the DoEHR, Ugyen Tashi, was found guilty of abuse of functions for missing documents of the BEO Agency.

Kelzang Ninda was acquitted of deceptive practices.

Pema Tshomo Sherpa had been charged with two deceptive practices—getting a hiring license and a loan.However, she was acquitted of the charges.

Dilu Giri was also charged with deceptive practice as a partner in the hiring company but was not found guilty.

Namgay Lhamo was charged with deceptive practice for getting a licence from the MoEA but was not found  guilty.