The High Court’s bench II yesterday conducted the preliminary hearing for Major Tshering Tobgay, who was convicted of embezzling about Nu 824,000 by the military court in Lungtengphug last month.

The officer was involved as an administrative officer for the 15th batch DeSuung training, which was held for five weeks.

Major Tshering Tobgay requested the court to investigate the case properly, claiming that the lower court convicted them based on their statements to ACC although it stated that it would take into consideration their submission to the court.

He submitted that the vendors changed their statement before the lower court, as their statement to ACC was taken under duress.

He also claimed that he had not embezzled the fund but had done adjustments as per the order of superiors and former administrative officers since there was no standard operating procedure (SOP) in place. I am terminated without any benefit although I did not embezzle any amount.

The officer claimed that the prosecutor and lower court could not prove how he embezzled.

Major Tshering Tobgay submitted that he adhered to the verbal orders of the superiors and adjusted the fund to procure prohibited items. I never had the criminal intention to embezzle but it is a collective responsibility.

He claimed that he followed the army code of conduct and that even the menu was routed through food member, which includes DeSuups. The prosecutor did not submit my procurement register to the HC. The court should order the prosecutor to submit it.

He also submitted that he did not accumulate any wealth by embezzling the fund. My role in DeSuung was only secondary and I could have made some errors in maintaining the record, as I did not have any administration and finance experience.

He also highlighted his service to the nation as a soldier and as a focal person for disaster management and said he never thought of embezzling. The court should acquit me.

Meanwhile, the court made it explicit that the case would be treated like any other embezzlement case and the litigants and court officials would be bound by the court procedures.

Tashi Dema