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Former BKK Chancery head appeals to HC

The former head of chancery of Bhutan’s embassy in Bangkok has appealed to the High Court on June 5.

An official from the High Court said that while the individual has appealed against the dzongkhag court’s judgment, the grounds of the appeal have not been submitted yet. The court is yet to decide on the hearing date for the appeal case.

Chendra Tobgay’s defence lawyer, Cheda, said that he is still discussing the grounds of appeal with his client.

He said that he would have to discuss with the clients’ family and relatives on his bail application.

The Thimphu dzongkhag court on May 22 convicted him to nine years and one month in prison for 12 counts of embezzlement.

Thimphu dzongkhag court ordered him to refund to the state about Nu 16.23 million (M) that he had embezzled from the money meant to cover referral treatment of patients in Bangkok.

Chendra Tobgay was guilty of violating the Penal Code of Bhutan section 287 and was given a concurrent sentence.

The biggest amount he had embezzled was the medical expenses incurred by an individual called King Song Wang, a worker of the Buddha Dordenma Statue project at Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu. Of the Thai Baht 11.315M that the finance ministry paid Bumrangrad Hospital in Bangkok on December 30, 2011 as medical expenses, about Thai Baht 1.73M or Nu 2.81M was for King Song Wang’s treatment.

Chendra Tobgay was also found guilty of official misconduct as per section 294 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004 and was given concurrent sentence of a month in prison. He was also made to refund the amount to the state.

The court also found him guilty of deceptive practice for which he was sentenced to a month in prison.  He was entitled to housing allowance and utility expenses but he had claimed Thai Baht 5,500 from the landlord.

He was also found guilty of other offences that included nine counts of embezzlement of medical expenses for 11 persons worth Nu 9.67M. The court ordered him to refund the amount within 15 days from the date of judgment to the OAG or serve equivalent prison term.

The mismanagement of referral funds surfaced some time in 2011 when the government was alerted that a huge dues had accumulated with certain hospitals in Bangkok.

Tshering Palden

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