Police in Pemagatshel is on the look out for the owner of a private firm, Drukyul Destiny, who in 2015, collected Nu 500 each from 250 households of Chimung, Chongshing, Khar and Yurung gewogs and allegedly absconded.

The money was collected as fees to register the farmers as regular vegetable suppliers to the firm. One of the firm employees, Yeshey Lhamo, collected the money from the farmers and deposited an amount of Nu 127,000 in the firm’s account.

According to police, besides the registration fees, farmers from the four gewogs also supplied vegetables at a nominal price to the firm worth Nu 231,000.

In April 2016, Yeshey Lhamo filed a case against the firm owner, who is also the chief executive officer (CEO), Rangu Pati Suberi.

Police said that Rangu Pati Suberi had allegedly paid Nu 10,000 to Yeshey Lhamo. “The court ordered him to pay the remaining amount to Yeshey Lhamo and farmers between April 26 to June 14 that year but he failed.”

Pemagatshel court issued an arrest warrant on June 1, 2016, against Rangu Pati Suberi. Police detained him for a night. The court released him with an instruction to report with the money but it was alleged that he never returned.

Although no cases were filed in court, Rangu Pati Suberi was also alleged of committing a similar crime in Mongar in 2015 and 2016.

In Mongar, he is alleged of taking registration fees of Nu 500 from 494 farmers from six gewogs of Khengkhar, Jurmey, Chali, Balam, Sherimuhung and Ngatshang as well as vegetables from the farmers.

A report compiled by the police state that the firm CEO owes Nu 367,686 to the farmers in Mongar.

In Paro, the firm is also alleged of duping farmers with a similar modus operandi. The report compiled by the dzongkhag agriculture office states that the firm collected Nu 500 each as registration fees from 536 farmers from the nine gewogs of Tsento, Lamgong, Dop Shari, Hungrel, Doteng, Wangchang, Loonyi, Shaba, Dogar and Naja. It is also alleged that the firm bought vegetables from the farmers and did not pay them. The membership fees amounted to Nu 268,000.

Thimphu dzongkhag officials, after receiving complaints from farmers about the firm, reviewed the complaints and called the CEO to resolve the issue.

Thimphu dzongdag Tshewang Rinzin had written to the agriculture ministry, complaining about the firm taking registration fees from farmers of Kawang and Mewang gewogs without permission from authorities and non-payment for vegetables. The amount is, however, not stated in the complaint.

In a similar complaint, the people of Toeb gewog in Punakha also filed a complaint to the dzongkhag administration about non-payment for agricultural produce by the firm.

Kuensel could not contact the CEO for comments.

Tashi Dema