Update: The former foreign minister and Haa dzongdag, Rinzin Dorje has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s September 3 verdict that convicted him to a year in prison.

The Member of Parliament from Shompangkha constituency said that the decision came as a surprise.

He was also imposed a penalty of Nu 111,640 within 10 days of the verdict for using the dzongkhag administration’s pool vehicle for transporting his private timber to Thimphu.

The penalty is based on a finance ministry circular which states that unauthorised travel beyond duty station will entail an imposition of a fine of Nu 1,000 and three times the mileage at the prevailing government rates.

The High Court Bench I ruled that transporting private timber in a pool vehicle while he was the Haa dzongdag was not an emergency but a violation of laws.

MP Rinzin Dorje had used the pool vehicle 10 times to transport private timber between July 2011 and June 2012.

These acts during his tenure as dzongdag had violated beyond reasonable doubt, the Civil Service Act and Anti-Corruption Act.

The High Court left the defendant an option to pay thrimthue in lieu of imprisonment amounting to Nu 45,000.

If the Supreme Court does not change the verdict, it could mean the end of his political career.

The Supreme Court recently stated that any elected member would have to leave office even if convicted and sentenced for a day.

Tshering Palden