Thinley Namgay   

Thimphu dzongkhag court sentenced Druk PNB’s automatic teller machines (ATMs) in charge, Thinley Jamtsho, to nine years and six months for the embezzlement of more than Nu 10 million (M) from Druk PNB’s nine ATMs around the capital.

Besides the concurrent prison term of nine years and six months, he also had to refund Nu 10.484M to the bank within a month.

According to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Thinley Jamtsho had misused money from ATMs for around five years but the Druk PNB management knew about it only in 2017.

The management once checked their ATMs in presence of Thinley Jamtsho and noticed that a total of Nu 10. 484M was lost from nine ATMs, according to ACC.

A team led by the bank’s internal auditor and the branch manager with two other employees conducted an investigation.

The bank filed a complaint to the ACC on May 20, 2017. The ATM in charge was responsible for refurbishing nine ATMs with adequate cash regularly for daily withdrawals and to keep the ATMs running.

According to the court, ACC did not have comprehensive details as to how Thinley Jamtsho embezzled money from ATMs. “Thinley Jamtsho being in in-charge could not explain about missing money.”

Thinley Jamtsho told the court that management and system lapses and contributory negligence were the reasons for misplaced money.

To cover the incident, Thinley Jamtsho replenished Nu 2M in ATMs. He had made a fake money lending agreement with his friend, Sonam Tshering, stating that of the Nu 2M, he borrowed Nu 1.2M from him. Both were convicted of forgery and given a one-year prison term each.

Thinley Jamtsho had also persuaded two other employees of the bank, Tashi Lobzang and Yeshi Nidup, and withdrawn Nu 339,000 from  Sonam Wangchuk Dorji’s account.

Bank’s chief teller, Tashi Lobzang, created the transaction while Yeshi Nidup, a bank’s vault custodian, verified it. For that, Thinley Jamtsho was sentenced to six months for abuse of function. Tashi Lobzang and Yeshi Nidup were sentenced to a year each also for abuse of function. They can pay thrimthue, however.

Yeshi Nidup was also charged with abuse of power by lending Nu 7.7M for his friend Tshering Dorji, but was acquitted as the OAG could not provide enough evidence to the court. He was also charged with embezzlement, but acquitted.

Co-vault custodian, Kinley Tenzin, was charged with abuse of function for allowing Yeshi Nidup to take out money but he was also later acquitted.