The Supreme Court (SC) sentenced nine Royal Bhutan Army officers and a non-commissioned officer in the DeSuung training fund embezzlement case yesterday.

The officers received  compoundable prison term ranging from a year to two years and 11 months.

Major Ugyen Nidup was slapped with the maximum sentence of two years and 11 months. He was also asked to restitute Nu 659,145 that he embezzled within six months.

The SC sentenced Lt. Colonel Rinzin Yeshey and Lieutenant Ugyen Dorji to one year and eight months each.  They will have to restitute Nu 216,933 and Nu 230,429 respectively. Major Sonam Lhagyel received one year and six months and has to refund Nu 173,497.

Lt. Colonel Karma Tharchen and Lt. Colonel Ugyen Norbu were sentenced to one year and two months each along with restitution of Nu 60,140 and Nu 56,254 respectively. The court also convicted Major Sigay Tshewang to a year and one month and Major Jurmey to one year. Both defendants will have to restitute Nu 37,156 and Nu 17,561 respectively.

Major Lingi Jamtsho received a sentence of one year and 20 days. He was asked to refund Nu 54,816.

NCO Sonam Dorji received an eight-month prison term. He has to restitute Nu 30,000. Two other NCOs, Nima Gyeltshen and Zepa were acquitted.

All convicts can pay compensation in lieu of imprisonment within 10 days. The court directed them to pay the embezzled amount of more than Nu 100,000 within six months and three months for less than Nu 100,000.

The SC judgments stated that the appellants were convicted based on the admission of adjustment they made. The court considered adjustment as embezzlement and rejected the expenses incurred for restricted items to guests and trainees, cash prizes to dancers during the closing event of programme, and pay incentives to those who helped organize the programme as expenses.

However, the court allowed to deduct the cost incurred on purchasing hornets (Bjinyem), tax deducted at source and the value of stock balance.

The Anti-Corruption Commission appealed to the Supreme Court after the High Court overturned the military court’s ruling and acquitted many officers. The commission charged the defendants for embezzlement, forgery, solicitation, breach of disciple and disgraceful conduct.

The Supreme Court’s ruling stated that the military court will have to enforce all the judgments.

Rinzin Wangchuk