Staff Reporter

Phajo Nidup appealed to the Special Bench in Thimphu yesterday, following the 21-year prison term on March 15 imposed upon him by the Bench.

Phajo Nidup was embroiled in multiple court cases in connection to alleged fraudulent cases related to loans.

He said that while availing a loan from Bank of Bhutan (BoB) in Phuentsholing, he did not engage in bribery or forgery.

The court, which convicted him of fourth-degree felony for bribery and forgery, stated that he signed the land document on behalf of the landowner, Menuka Nirola, while availing the loan.

However, Phajo appealed, stating that he purchased the land from Menuka Nirola, and therefore, her signature was not necessary.

Phajo defended that there were no discrepancies between himself and the landowner, and he emphasised that the Bench should only be concerned if Menuka Nirola raises an issue about it.

Phajo demands that the Bench revisit their decision. He emphasised that the Bench should not sentence him for forgery.

Despite being the owner of the land, there was no requirement for the signature of Menuka Nirola, yet he signed it in her name. On this issue, Phajo demands a lighter sentence instead of a fourth-degree felony. He argues that instead of forgery, it should be considered deception.

Regarding the Bench’s conviction for bribery, Phajo stated that the Nu 2.57 million he gave to one of the bank employees was not a bribe; rather, it was money he had lent to the employee. He affirmed that he has all the evidence to prove that he lent money to the employee.

“While obtaining loans from the bank, there was an agreement. There is no place for bribery,” Phajo Nidup said.

In his appeal letter, he stated that if he were sentenced, he would not be able to repay the loans, which would have repercussions for the state and other individuals involved. He requests the Bench to deliver a compoundable prison term.