Tashi Dekar and Rada Wangmo | Interns

It was in 2017. A highlander from Wangduephodrang met a woman on social media and they became friends.

He claimed the woman shared stories with him of how she was struggling to repay loans and insisted he buy her building in Olakha. “The building’s initial cost was about Nu 32 million, but she had a loan amounting to about Nu 14 million.”

The highlander alleged that he paid Nu 14M as an advance payment and made a sale deed. “She showed me the online transaction process, but could not transfer the building. She then made various excuses.”

He said he waited for two years and finally filed a case against her in 2019.

Thimphu dzongkhag court’s commercial bench issued a negotiated judgment based on a mutual agreement but did not enforce it, since court officials found there were more cases against the woman related to the building.

The highlander said he expected the court to transfer the building in his name, but it did not do so, as there are many people like him that the woman conned. “It is not fair for an illiterate farmer like me when such things happen. It is my hard-earned savings from collecting cordyceps.”

The dzongkhag court was supposed to enforce the judgment on December 31 of last year, and the woman went on Facebook on December 30, claiming she had not received justice.

Karma Choki, 38, from Thimphu claimed the court had seized her building in Olakha for the last three years.

She alleged that the court officials are favouring the other litigant and being unfair to her. “Although I wanted to pay Nu 8M and pay the remaining money later, the court is not accepting that as a solution.”

She also alleged that court officials are harassing and defaming her in the more than 25-minute video.

Karma Choki told Kuensel that she had not sold the building, but borrowed money. “I had to make a sale deed because of the private money lending rules that prohibited borrowing and lending more than Nu 90,000.”

However, court officials said Karma Choki’s claims are not true.

A court official said that the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) had seized the building as per their agreement, since she had mortgaged her building with the bank.

The source also said Karma Choki had failed to cooperate with the court for the last three years and they had not been able to give justice to the highlander.

Court officials also said that out of about 20 cases against Karma Choki, two are related to the sale of the whole building. “In some cases, she sold the flats of the building to different individuals,” an official said.

In the other case, a Thimphu resident also claimed Karma Choki had conned her into buying the building for Nu 6.3M in 2019.

She claimed a friend encouraged her to buy the building. “My friends told me I had been duped and I filed the complaint. When I confronted her, she kept telling me not to worry and that I would get the building.”

The case is undergoing trial.