Home Minister convicted of fraud

The ruling party DNT is damaging its well-built credibility by not removing its Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen even after being convicted by a court on criminal offence.

The Thimphu Dzongkhag court on August 27 convicted him to two months in prison for falsely claiming vehicle insurance worth Nu 226,546. He had claimed on full insurance cover while having only third party protection cover with Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan.

The minister has appealed to high court for review of the case. In the appeal, minister’s lawyer claimed the court verdict failed to cite the evidences produced by the minister.

The executive director of RICB Sonam Dorji is indicted to be part of the false claim process. The claim was process without police report of any accident or engine fault.

Dorji was convicted for one year which is graded misdemeanor for misusing his power on two grounds. RICBL’s General Manager Sangay Wangdi is sentenced to 6 months in prison for solicitation. Inspection officer, Ugyen Namdrol is sentenced to 1 year for forgery and deceptive practice and RICBL official, Sangay Dorji is sentenced to 1 year for aiding and abetting and proprietor of Dagap workshop, Yonten Phuntsho is sentenced for 6 months and was charged for aiding and abetting.

The case was classified as petty misdemeanor because according to Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, section 311, a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of fraudulently obtaining of insurance, if the defendant presents a false statement as part of an application for commercial or personal insurance as part of claim for payment on a commercial or personal insurance policy. 

If higher court upholds the verdict, Gyeltshen stands to lose his MP position as the National Assembly (NA) Act 2008 under section 14(c) says, “A member of the National Assembly shall be disqualified if the member: is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.” And Article 23.4c of the Bhutanese Constitution  says “A person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member holding an elective office under this Constitution, if the person is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.”The High Court has precedence of upholding such cases.

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