Samtse dzongkhag court sentenced a 29-year-old man from Khomshar in Zhemgang to three years and six months in prison on June 26 for impersonation, theft of service and deliberate larceny.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged Phub Dorji with two counts of impersonation, six counts of theft of service and three counts of deliberate larceny.

Phub Dorji was arrested on April 17 after a businessman in Samtse lodged a complaint against him.

On April 14, Phub Dorji ordered alcohol, snacks, noodles and juices worth Nu 2,660 for him and his friends. When the restaurant owner was calculating the bill, he left.

When police investigated, they found the accused had other criminal records. On April 10, he had harvested 25kg of areca nut from a man’s field in Khandothang and sold it to an Indian national in Samtse town for Nu 620.

On the same day, he went to a shop near Samtse jail and bought alcohol, juices and noodles and 16 Nu 50 mobile vouchers and left when the shop owner was calculating the amount.

The following day, Phub Dorji went to a restaurant in Samtse town, claimed he works with the HM secretariat and had edibles worth Nu 500 and three bottles of beer and left without paying the bill.

On April 15, he went to another restaurant in the town, introduced with a different name and had alcohol and snacks and said he wanted to stay in a room. “He then took a bottle of special courier and said he would pay it together with the room charge. But he left again.”

On that same day, he went to another restaurant and introduced himself as a legal officer of the home ministry and had beer and snacks and left when the owner was busy with the workers.

On April 16, Phub Dorji gave a wrong name and booked two rooms and had alcohol and snacks worth Nu 2,784 and again left without clearing the bill.

Phub Dorji also had prior criminal record.

Bumthang court convicted him on August 9, 2013, for impersonation.

The man was also convicted by Phuentsholing drungkhag court on January 1, 2014, for theft of service in accordance to section 257 of the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Section 257 states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of theft of services if the defendant intentionally does not pay for a service rendered to the defendant or another person for whom the defendant is legally responsible upon receipt of a bill for the service.”

Thimphu dzongkhag court’s bench IV also convicted him on April 27, 2015, for larceny.

On May 7, 2015, Thimphu dzongkhag court’s bench V convicted him for larceny.The court’s bench I and III also convicted him of larceny and deception.

The court, according to OAG charges, increased the grading of the crimes from misdemeanour to fourth-degree felony based on Phub Dorji’s past criminal record.

The court, after ruling Phub Dorji guilty of all the charges, stated that although he had to compensate the victims, he was not in the position to compensate, as he did not have any source of income.

“The victims also submitted before the court that they did not want any compensation,” the judgment stated.

Tashi Dema