Phuentsholing drungkhag court sentenced the former regional director of the revenue and customs office in Phuentsholing, Choyzang Tashi, to one year in prison for 15 counts of forgery yesterday.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), on January 21 last year, filed a criminal suit against Choyzang Tashi for alleged forgery, aiding and abetting and influencing the witnesses.

The court judgment stated that the former regional director, while serving in Phuentsholing from 2002 to 2007, forged signatures to obtain trade licence of Tee Dee Enterprise in his sister-in-law, Tenzin Dekar’s name, forged her signatures to obtain licence for Tee Dee Cement Agent, and later to change it to his wife Yeshey Zangmo’s name. He forged his wife’s signature.

He was also found guilty of forging thumbprint of his mother-in-law Sonam Zangmo to obtain trade licence for Sonam Beer Agency.

It stated that in accordance with section 69 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, which states, “A defendant shall not be convicted of more than one offence if one offence is included in the other (compoundable offence), his offence will be graded a petty misdemeanour.”

The sentencing for the offence ranges between one year and three years.

Although Choyzang Tashi was charged for committing two offences relating to influencing witnesses, Rajiv Bhansali and Sunil Agarwal by inducing them to testify in an untruthful manner to obstruct justice, the court dismissed the charges, stating it was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The judgment stated that although OAG submitted a written statement of the two individuals to the investigating agency, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the two individuals refused to appear before the court.

Choyzang Tashi’s sentence is compoundable and he can pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term.

The court also sentenced a senior tax inspector, Kinley, to six months for aiding and abetting the crime.

OAG charged Kinley for seven counts of aiding and abetting, as he processed the licences for Choyzang Tashi while working in Phuentsholing.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed the charges against Tenzin Dekar, Choyzang Tashi’s father-in-law Kinzang Dorji, his son Kezang Tshering Tashi and Sonam Zangmo. OAG charged them for reporting false information.

The judgment stated that the evidences against them are circumstantial and that the offences against them were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Tashi Dema