High Court’s bench two convicted two army officers and a non-commissioned officer (NCO) and acquitted an officer and an NCO in the DeSuung training fund embezzlement case on October 25.
The court sentenced Major Tshering Tobgay to a year and seven months in prison for embezzling and forging bills. He can pay in lieu of the prison term.
The judgment stated that the court accepted that adjustments have been regularly made in bills because restricted items had to be served. “There was a balanced of Nu 424,176 that was not accounted for. This amount was the difference between the adjustment claims made by the accused and the total worth items that shopkeepers had supplied as evidenced by their record books.”
The court issued the judgment after scrutinising the statements of the shopkeepers, the accused and his subordinates, bills and supply registers.
The army court convicted Major Tshering Tobgay of embezzling about Nu 824,000 last year.
The officer served as the administrative officer for the 15th batch DeSuung training, which was held for five weeks. He was terminated without any post-retirement benefits.
He appealed against the lower court’s decision claiming that the court convicted him based on his statements to ACC although it stated that it would take into consideration his submission to the court. He submitted that the vendors changed their statement before the lower court, as their statement to ACC was taken allegedly under duress.
The court also sentenced Major Sonam Tshering to one year and four months in prison for embezzlement of public fund and forgery.
He served as the administrative officer for the 12th and 21st batches of DeSuung training programme at the Military Training Centre in Wangdue.
The court compared his adjusted bills, the shopkeepers’ supply register and the statements to the lower court by those involved to draw their judgment.
The court’s judgment stated that he could not prove accounts of how he adjusted Nu 218,282 for the 12th batch and Nu 159,263 for the 21st batch.
Sonam Tshering’s assistant, Tanka, who is an NCO and the store in-charge for the 21st batch training, was sentenced to a year in prison for embezzling public fund.
Tanka admitted in his statements that the amount of Nu 74,299 for the purchase of meat was for his personal use. The court ordered him to restitute the amount.
The court’s judgment stated that the shopkeepers involved in the case were also equally liable for punishment. However, as they have not appealed against the charges to the High Court, they could not be charged.
The defendants can pay in lieu of their sentences.
The court, however, acquitted Major Dorji T and his assistant, NCO Karsang who managed the 4th batch DeSuung training.
They were charged with forgery, embezzling public fund and solicitation.
A shopkeeper, who had stated in his statements to the Anti-Corruption Commission that he had supplied goods to Dorji T later withdrew the statements.
The court also ruled that there was no corroborating evidence to prove the charges.
Another shopkeeper, Karna Bahadur in his statement to ACC had said that he had given Nu 18,000 to Karsang. The court did not find any supporting evidence to prove the charge.
The officers and NCOs could appeal against the judgment within 10 working days after the judgment was rendered.