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Judiciary conducts a slew of recent high-profile cases

By Staff Reporter

Just days after a court in Thimphu implicated a former RBA colonel and a senior Supreme Court judge, including their alliances, in a mutiny and sedition case, the high court affirmed the Trongsa District Court’s judgment involving former Trongsa Dzongda Lhab Dorji and five other individuals in a land scam.

The former Dzongda was sentenced to five years in prison while his wife Karma Tshethrim Dema and former Draagteng Gup Tenzin were sentenced to a prison term of six years each. While their counterpart, former Drangpon Ugyen Tenzin, former Surveyor Narayan Dangal and former Nubi Gup Phuntsho were sentenced to 18 months each.

The district court had sentenced former Trongsa Dzongda to 13 years in prison for forgery, official misconduct and execution of documents by deception in the land scam case. But he was given a concurrent prison term of five years.

His wife Karma Tshethrim Dema and former Draagteng gup Tenzin were sentenced to 15 years each in prison. But they were given a concurrent prison term of six years each for forgery, solicitation and influencing the witness.

Similarly, former Drangpon Ugyen Tenzin was handed down an 18-months sentence for an attempt to forgery.

The court gave concurrent sentencing of 18 months each to former Surveyor Narayan Dangal and former Nubi Gup Phuntsho.

The Anti-Corruption Commission registered the case with the Trongsa District Court in 2017 after the Office of the Attorney General dismissed it saying the case did not merit criminal proceedings.

In a most recent development involving a serving Member of Parliament, the Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag court sentenced Khamdang-Ramjar MP Kuenga Loday to five years in prison while Khamdang Mangmi Sangay Tempa was sentenced to four years and three months.

The MP’s three relatives who were also involved in the illegal construction of road were sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

The MP was charged on seven grounds including malicious mischief, breach of public order and tranquility, official misconduct, hindering prosecutions and violation of Road Act 2013, Environment Assessment Act 2000, and Land Act 2007.

They are also ordered to pay a penalty of Nu 59,660 for the violation of the Environment Assessment Act.

However, they can all pay in lieu of the prison term.

Police arrested the MP and one of his nephews on March 1 for the construction of an illegal road carried out in September last year.

The road was found to be constructed in the highly restricted and prohibited area despite the refusal of a construction permit by the dzongkhag administration on two occasions.

Following a written complaint from the dzongkhag administration, the Royal Bhutan Police started formal investigations on October 12, 2020.

The case was registered in the Dzongkhag Court in March.

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