The High Court altered the judgment of the military court and acquitted Lt Col Kinley Dorji in the DeSuung training fund embezzlement case yesterday.
The trial court convicted him of embezzling Nu 315,069 from the budget to purchase vegetables, eggs, and fruits during the second batch DeSuung training at the military training centre in Wangdue.
Lt Col Kinley Dorji’s final bills to the RBA headquarters for the purchase of vegetables, eggs and fruits amounted to Nu 615,069.
However, the supplier, Ugyen Tshomo in her statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) stated that she had received about Nu 300,000 from Lt Col Kinley Dorji.
The military court convicted him of embezzling the remaining amount and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison and the shopkeeper Ugyen Tshomo was handed a 8-month prison term for aiding and abetting.
The court found Ugyen Tshomo had submitted in the lower court that she had given her statement to the ACC under duress but that she had received full payment for the supply of the items.
According to the judgment, she had stated to ACC that she could not recall clearly whether she had given empty bills to the two defendants and that she had received about Nu 0.3 million in payment for the items supplied from her shop.
The High Court also found that the tax deducted at source of Nu 12,301, which Lt Col Kinley Dorji had paid to the revenue and customs department was also accounted as fund misused.
The High Court ruled that except for Ugyen Tshomo’s statement to ACC, there was no corroborating evidence to prove that Lt Col Kinley Dorji paid her only Nu 300,000.
Therefore, in absence of corroborating evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt, which is mandatory under section 88 of the Evidence Act and section 96.2 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code, the High Court altered the lower court’s judgment entirely and acquitted both individuals.
Lt Col Kinley Dorji had not admitted to making adjustments with the payment to Ugyen Tshomo.
The High Court’s comparative study also found that the cost of supplying vegetables, fruits and eggs for a similar training of five weeks in the ninth batch was in a similar range of about Nu 625,000.
The administrative officer of the ninth batch was acquitted in a similar embezzlement case by the High Court’s bench three earlier this month.