The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is reviewing the investigation findings on an alleged embezzlement of more than Nu 2.184 M by the former senior vice president of Druk Punjab National Bank Limited’s (DPNBL) Legal Division in Thimphu.

OAG’s chief prosecutor Kinley Tenzin confirmed that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has forwarded the report for prosecution last month. “We have assigned an attorney to review ACC’s findings to see whether it merits for prosecution.”

ACC received a complaint from DPNBL alleging that its former legal officer had not deposited the money, which was entrusted to recover from the two individuals after the litigation. He was then handling the court case in which two individuals had deceitfully obtained a loan of Nu 3M from DPNBL by mortgaging one plot measuring 26 decimal at Langjophaka belonging to a woman.

The aggrieved party sued two individuals and subsequently the Thimphu district court ordered the two defendants to pay Nu 3.936M including accrued interest to the DPNBL. The former vice president , as a legal officer representing the DPNBL was responsible to administer the recoveries from the two defendants through the court.

The fraud, according to the report, came to light when DPNBL discovered, at the time of releasing the mortgage that the legal officer had deposited only Nu 350,000 as opposed to Nu 3.936M ordered by the court. By then, he had already resigned from the DPNBL.

The commission conducted the investigation against the accused from January 2014 to December 2017. ACC looked into whether or not he had actually collected the payments in full or in part from the two defendants or simply fabricated the receipts to favour the duo in exchange for some kind of corrupt reward.

The ACC’s investigation revealed that the accused had issued 10 money receipts on various dates from July 2014 to June 2015 amounting to Nu 2.549M but deposited only Nu 350,000 to the DPNBL.

The report stated that the accused had allegedly concealed these receipts from DPNBL and only reported while resigning that judgment enforcement was pending due to absconded debtor. The investigation also established that he had foreknowledge about the debtor leaving for the United States.

The commission’s investigation did not find corroborative evidence to shed light on what actually transpired between the accused and debtor and whether or not the money was paid and received. “Neither did the commission find his justification that the accused did not collect money from the defendants and that he only fabricated receipts to avert arrest warrant, logically convincing,” the report stated.

“On the basis of fact that the accused had knowingly issued money receipts for Nu 2.549M, that too endorsed by the court, the commission found a prima facie case of embezzlement of funds by public servant,” the ACC’s findings stated.

The ACC not only recommended the OAG to prosecute the accused but also restitute Nu 2.184M from him in favour of DPNBL.

Rinzin Wangchuk