Gelephu drungkhag court sentenced the former Gelephu drungpa Pema Wangdi to 15 years in prison.

The sentence is non-compoundable.

The drungpa was sentenced to 35 years in prison for 20 charges of corruption, forgery, embezzlement, commission, omission, official misconduct, bribery, solicitation, perjury and abuse of privilege information but the court gave a concurrent sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

The court sentenced the former drungkhag administrative assistant, Sonam Norbu, to eight years in prison.

He was also given a concurrent prison term for 19 years in prison for seven counts of embezzlement, forgery, passive bribery, and aiding and abetting.

Pema Wangdi and Sonam Norbu were sentenced to 15 years and eight years for corruption in the process of getting the Losel cinema hall fund from Sikkim, India and misusing it.

Pema Wangdi will have to refund a total of about Nu 6.4 million (M) that includes the refundable amount of Nu 295,000 of the corruption in Tsachu renovation works, Nu 20,761 for corruption in Losel cinema hall management and Nu 6.1M for the Losel cinema hall fund in Sikkim.

The Anti-Corruption Commission had seized Nu 3.4M from the former drungpa’s resident during an investigation.

The drungpa will also refund Nu 100,000 to Shershong community account for making payment of the fine for teco.

According to the verdict, Sonam Norbu will have to refund about Nu 1M for the embezzlement of cinema hall fund and misuse of money brought from Sikkim.

In the judgment that took almost 12 hours yesterday, the drungkhag court also sentenced 18 other individuals to a prison term ranging from three months to four years for their involvement in deceptive corrupt practices, aiding and abetting corruption, omission and commission amounting to an abuse of function and forgery.

The court acquitted two alleged accomplices of drungpa Pema Wangdi in the Losel cinema hall management case, Arnul Das from India and Ugyen Phuntsho.

Drungpa Pema Wangdi’s son, Tobgay Dradul, was given two years and six months compoundable sentence for forgery in Gelephu tsachu renovation work and deceptive practice for Sershong crematorium renovation project. His license was cancelled.

A contractor, Tshering Kiba, was given two years and six months sentence for deceptive practice in the Indo-Bhutan boundary wall construction and repairing a house near the cinema hall.

Her licence was cancelled and she was asked to refund Nu 96,579 and replace 12 CGI sheets.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu