Not embezzlement but officially induced error: Defendant

While the prosecutors of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) maintained that Major Lingi Jamtsho adjusted and embezzled Nu 180,000 from the seventh batch DeSuung training programme and Nu 601,245 from the 23rd batch, the defendant contended that the Nu 601,245 were from the receipts for scouts leadership training programme held in December 2016.

“I should not be liable for that as the bill was cleared by officials of the Department of Youth and Sports (DYS),” he said. “The vendor appears to have been confused between the 22nd, scouts and 23rd batch program.”

The High Court’s bench II took a while to sort out the bill issue yesterday at the hearing, as the prosecutors claimed that the bills seized from Dolma Tshongkhang owner, Choeten Dorji’s house and bill no 747 that the defendant submitted to the RBA headquarter are the same.

The court asked the prosecutors why they claim the bills, which the defendant claimed were for scouts training. The three RBA prosecutors had to refer to the ACC charges and submitted that it was based on the claims made by the vendor and also had the defendant’s initials.

The court asked the litigants to make thorough submissions to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

The prosecutors also alleged that the lower court did not accept the bills of Nu 41,500 the defendant paid to IMS; Nu 40,900 to Tsholing Press and Nu 20,300 to Explore Bhutan, as the payments were made through cheque and not routed through the RBA headquarter.

“The defendant also maintained documents for cash soelra paid during the 23rd batch but did not submit it to the headquarters. The court should understand his intention,” Captain Kinga Tenzin submitted.

Major Lingi Jamtsho said he took advances from the vendor and made them pay cheques to IMS, Tsholing Press and Explore Bhutan after making adjustments. “I also did not submit the bills because it was not within financial rules.”

He invoked section 93 and 94 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004 and submitted that he should be charged for error in the execution of a superior’s order and officially induced error and not as per section 52 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act. “I did not embezzle from what I adjusted but it was for DeSuung programme.”

“It is must to understand the work culture of RBA, where there is no room for question,” Major Lingi Jamtsho submitted to the court. “There are two golden rules in the army – the first rule is – senior is always right and the second is if you have any doubt, refer rule number one.”

He said that he followed the chain of command and at the end of the day, justice must win.

Tashi Dema 

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