Staff reporter

Panbang drungkhag court sentenced Goshing gup Sangay Lethro to 10 years and three months in prison on December 3 for embezzlement, solicitation, fraudulent claims and official misconduct.

He was also ordered to restitute Nu 2.9M to the government.

The gup was found guilty of embezzling public funds from 2011 to 2015 by inflating the bills of Bhutan Oil Corporation (BOC) by colluding employees of the fuel depot in Gelephu for the purchase of petrol, oil and lubricants for excavators.

The petrol, oil and lubricants were purchased while constructing the gewog connectivity (GC) road and Lamtang – Mewangang farm road.

The court also convicted two fuel depot officials in Gelephu, Mani Dipar Sarat Gautam and Mon Bahadur Powel to three months in prison for colluding with the gup and inflating the bills. They could pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term.

Four other BOC employees, who were charged for similar crimes, were acquitted.

The court also sentenced a contractor, Rinchen Drakpa, who is the former Nangkhor gup, to two years in prison for participation in the crime of a public servant in embezzling public fund. 

  He could also pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term.

Gup Sangay Lethro awarded the drain construction works for Rinchen Drakpa without following proper procedures and taking money.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigated the gup in 2016 following complaints of embezzlement and forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in 2017.

OAG charged gup Sangay Lethro to Panbang drungkhag court on June 4 last year for 27 counts of embezzlement, nine counts of fraudulent hiring scheme and putting in fake money receipts for embezzlement and official misconduct.