… defendant claims reimbursement of 40 percent of investment  

Nima Wangdi 

In 2012, Karma Tshetim Dolma (KTD) availed Nu 132.2 million (M) loan from the Bank of Bhutan mortgaging her 4.95-acre land in Trongsa to build the Viewpoint Resort in Trongsa.

After the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) began its investigation into alleged corruption in acquiring the land, the commission on May 3, 2015, issued a freeze notice on the properties.

Last year, the Supreme Court declared the mortgaged land as State land and sentenced KTD and her husband to prison for corruption. The Bank of Bhutan then filed a case at the Thimphu dzongkhag court seeking reimbursement of the outstanding loan amount.

KTD initially borrowed Nu 132.2M under two loan accounts. Later, as she could not pay insurance for the hotel and after ACC issued the freeze notice on the resort, the bank continued paying the insurance premium, and each premium was converted into separate loan accounts. There are six loan accounts from insurance amounting to Nu 2.43M.

Thimphu dzongkhag court last week issued its judgment saying that the total amount of loan Nu 246 million (M) maintained under eight loan accounts should actually be paid by KTD and the guarantor Lhab Dorji, her husband according to the judgment.

“Since the couple is already serving their prison terms, the government can take over all the hotel structures built on that State land as per the movable and immovable Act of Bhutan within six months after the date of judgment. The value of the structure may be paid to the bank,” the judgment stated.

The court also gave the option to lease the hotel structures to the bank along with the land if the value calculated by the government did not cover the loan amount and also to explore ways to clear the outstanding amount.

The judgment, issued on January 27, stated that although Karma Tshetim Dolma claimed the reimbursement of 40 percent of the investment she has made through private sources and other banks, she could not produce specific evidence.

Karma Tshetim Dolma’s daughter and her representative, Upel Dakini Dorji said that they will soon appeal to the High Court.

Upel Dakini Dorji said that the Court ruled that her mother did not have evidence of the 40 percent investments she made while building the resort. “The resort, my mother’s friend’s building mortgaged, and the fact that bank sanctions the 60 percent of the loan only if the applicant has 40 percent of the investment are clear evidence but the court did not accept them.”

She said the Trongsa land case resulted in the imprisonment of both her parents and their land has been declared as State land. The resort has been given to the bank, and she was denied her claim of the annual compensation of Nu 6.5M, which she could have been earning had ACC not issued the ‘freeze notice’.

“I couldn’t understand why my mother should not get the 40 percent of the investment she made in building the resort. We have to pay the private individuals and other banks we have borrowed from to make 40 percent of the investment,” she said.