Supreme Court to assess businessman Vs BNB loan case appeal

Legal: Supreme Court justices will soon convene to decide whether to entertain a case involving hundreds of millions of Ngultrums between an individual, Penjore, and the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) that has been dismissed by lower courts.

The Bumthang dzongkhag court passed a verdict earlier this year after the bank lodged a loan default case against Penjore, wherein they ordered the bank to take over the property mortgaged with the bank if Penjore failed to pay the entire principle amount with interest to the bank. Subsequently the property, a three-star hotel, was floated for public auction.

Penjore said that the present case is different from the one settled in court.

The businessman from Paro is seeking the court to look at legal issues with the bank related to the loan he availed from it.

Penjore submitted that the bank had not given him the entitled amount despite the loan agreement being valid up to September 30, 2028. He claimed that the bank’s estimated cost of the hotel in Bumthang, for which he sought the loan, was Nu 34.386 million and other mortgaged properties were worth more than the loan amount. He said he had signed an addendum to the loan agreement in September 2013 after clearing the due interests and installments. Despite that, the bank only gave him less than half the loan.

“The bank quoted a Royal Monetary Authority circular for their inability to continue giving the loan but that circular had nothing to do with my loan,” he said.

He submitted that the bank’s letter to the Druk Punjab National Bank, which could have given him a loan, had stopped it.  He asked if the bank could do that and asked the court to penalise the bank.

“As the bank had stopped loans indefinitely, I could not do any business for the past three years for which I suffered a loss of Nu 43.2 million,” he said. He asked the bank to compensate the amount.

He also said that the bank had called for public auction of his hotel while this case was with the high court.

Penjore filed a petition with the court yesterday after the High Court and Thimphu dzongkhag court dismissed his submissions earlier this year.

The Bhutan National Bank legal representative submitted that the loans were held as he defaulted on numerous loans from the bank. He said that they were only implementing the verdict of the Bumthang dzongkhag court.

Tshering Palden 

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