The former Labour Minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo and the former Director General of the Employment and Human Resources department, Sherab Tenzin were both handed a two year imprisonment for various corruption-related cases by the Thimphu District Court recently. A former assistant programme officer with the same department, Ugyen Tashi was also sentenced to one year in prison regarding missing documents in the Bhutan Employment Overseas Agency case. However, he has appealed to the High Court.
As per the judgment, the former minister failed to declare an excavator and M/S Tshomo Hiring business run by him and his wife Namgay Lhamo in 2017 during the Annual Asset Declaration.
To conceal the income of the hiring business and the excavator, he instead registered the excavator and the firm on his niece, Pema Tshomo Sherpa’s name with Dilu Giri as her partner. He was found guilty of false declaration with the view to conceal under the Anti-Corruption Act.
Former Director General Sherab Tenzin was also sentenced to two years for abuse of function. According to the judgment, despite not having the required registration documents, the Employment and Human Resources department recommended the erstwhile Economic Affairs Ministry to issue a licence to Bhutan Employment Overseas Agency while he was heading the department in 2016. Following that, the agency’s business licence was also issued.
He also charged for failing to declare conflict of interest while setting up a tissue paper manufacturing unit for his son, Kelzang Ninda. The ACC accused the former DG of having solicited and accepted favour of Nu 6,39,000 from Manav Dhingra, the head of operations of International Institute of Hospitality and Wellness Studies to buy machines to set up the tissue paper firm. However, ACC could not prove the accusation beyond reasonable doubt.
Similarly, assistant program officer Ugyen Tashi was also convicted of abuse of function with regards to missing documents in the Bhutan Employment Overseas Agency case.
However, all three of them can pay Thrimthue in lieu of prison term.
The office of the Attorney General had six charges against the former minister but the court acquitted five and convicted him on one charge.
Likewise, the former DG had four charges against him of which he was acquitted of three. The court acquitted the charges due to lack of evidence.
Moreover, Kelzang Ninda, Pema Tshoma Sherpa, Dilu Giri, and Namgay Lhamo were also charged with different deceptive practices but the district court acquitted them.
Edited by Kipchu