OAG waits for HC’s summon in the home minister’s case
Yangchen C Rinzin
The Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) trial at the Thimphu dzongkhag court, which was deferred because of the Covid-19 pandemic has resumed from June and is at the hearing evidence stage right now.
Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) are preparing evidence to submit to the court in a week when it is their turn to rebut.
After the two proprietors of BEO were charged for 2,887 counts of forgery in connection to the learn and earn programme in Japan on December 13 last year, the defendants were supposed to rebut in March this year.
However, the first Covid-19 case was detected on March 6, and the rebuttal was deferred. The OAG said that before it could resume, Covid-19 cases increased and then all the court proceedings were deferred almost till June.
This was mainly to ensure the health’s protocol of maintaining physical distance since a total of 11 defendants (two proprietors and nine employees) and court officials had to be present in the court, according to the OAG.
However, court proceedings resumed in June and the defendants submitted their rebuttal.
OAG charged the two proprietors for 730 counts of forgery for forging bank balance statement of the youth who applied to go to Japan through the BEO using Bank of Bhutan’s seal. The BEO used the bank balance as evidence to help the youth get Japanese visa.
They are also charged 2,190 counts of forgery for forging payslips of the youth’s guardians and another 730 counts of larceny by deception for illegally charging each youth a translation fee of Nu 7,500.
The OAG charged nine other employees of the BEO where one is charged for forgery while other eight staff were charged for aiding and abetting forgery.
MoLHR director general case
The pandemic also deferred the case of the department of employment director general, Sherab Tenzin. OAG charged the DG on four counts of offences related to two different overseas employments in Japan and India at the Thimphu dzongkhag.
The case was charged to court on August 23 last year.
Although hearings took place before Covid-19, the OAG is now waiting for the court to summon and resume the evidence hearing. The defendant is supposed to submit the evidence in the next hearing.
The Royal Civil Service Commission had decided to wait for the court judgment to take action against the DG.
Home minister’s case
Thimphhu dzongkhag court convicted Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen along with five other people on August 27 last year for claiming false vehicle insurance worth Nu 226,546 from Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Limited (RICBL).
However, home minister, four convicts and the OAG had appealed to High Court in September last year. Following which, a preliminary hearing was conducted on October 15, 2019.
The next rebuttal was scheduled for October 30 2019, however, owing to some personal reasons submitted by one of the defendants, the hearing was cancelled.
Then the last hearing was conducted on December 13 last year.
The OAG is still waiting for the High Court’s summon order since it was decided that High Court would summon OAG officials. The High Court was to summon if any further clarification was needed or if an additional hearing was to conduct before the judgment.
The minister, according to the Thimphu dzongkhag court judgment was also charged with fraud.
The court also convicted former executive director, Sonam Dorji with two offences of misusing his position and helping the minister.
Another general manager of RICBL, Sangay Wangdi was also sentenced to six months in prison for solicitation and asking inspection officer, Ugyen Namdrol to get blank cash receipts from automobile workshop to adjust the claims.
Another RICBL official, Sangay Dorji was sentenced for one month for aiding and abetting.
The proprietor of Dagap workshop, Yonten Phuntsho who did not appeal to High Court was charged for aiding and abetting. He was sentenced to six months.