Haa dzongkhag court has sentenced a fuel depot manager of Bhutan Oil Distributor (BOD) to one year three months imprisonment for official misconduct.

The court also sentenced the fuel attendant to three years and one month in prison for criminal misappropriation of property.

The manager and the attendant were also ordered to refund more than Nu 2.64 million (M) to the Tashi Group of Companies.

The fund misuse happened in March 2016 when the depot manager, Kencho Dema, from Paro delegated the administrative responsibilities to the fuel attendant, Langa Tshering from Trashigang when she was on leave.

According to the judgment, Kencho Dema did not seek administrative approval from the parent organisation, Tashi Group, to allow him to take over the administrative responsibilities and that resulted in the misuse of funds from the sale of fuel.

The judgment stated that Kencho Dema failed her duty to manage, often delegating her duty to her subordinate Langa Tsering, who don’t possess any qualification nor any experience to manage the staff. “She is liable to refund one-third of the total fund shortage.”

Kencho Dema is liable to refund Nu 882,619.

The court also ordered Langa Tshering to refund about Nu 1.7M.

Haa police initially charged Kencho Dema for criminal misappropriation of property and Langa Tshering for aiding and abetting the crime.

But Haa court, after finding out that the case is a criminal offence by nature, pointed out the jurisdiction limitation of police to prosecute the case in accordance to section 71 of the Police Act.

Police then forwarded the case to the Office of Attorney General (OAG) and OAG changed the charges.

The court stated that they accepted the charges framed by OAG, respecting the procedural fairness guaranteed by the procedural law. “OAG is the chief prosecuting agency of a state, which has ascendency over any other prosecuting agency on the subject of prosecution.”

Meanwhile, the two defendants have 10 working days to appeal on the judgment that was issued on August 4.

Yeshey Dema