Dr Shacha Wangmo and her mother Tandin Bidha will be losing nine of their apartments in their building on March 30th 2017. This is because the building is jointly owned by Tandin Bidha’s other daughter Sonam Wangmo who Ap SP alleged took money from him and won a case in the Supreme Court on the issue too.
The Department of National Property (DNP) in line with a verdict enforcement order from the Supreme Court gave a public notification of the auction recently.
The auction notice says that the auction will happen on 30th March 2017 at the DNP Auction yard and the bidders are requested to inspect the property on an ‘as is where is basis’.
It says, “Out of the two permanent attached building located at Changzamtok, Thram number 58 plot number 32 with land measuring 6,534 feet; the building on the left towards North Thimphu exclusive of the ground floor.” This would mean the nine units above it.
Earlier the Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay in reply to a question on the issue said that the MoF would have to abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict and order on the issue.
Each bidder will have to deposit an earnest money of Nu 10,000 by 29th March and the winning bidder on 30th march will have to deposit a spot payment of 25 percent of the auctioned value.
In 18th August 2016 a joint bench of Justice Tashi Chozom and Justice Rinzin Penjore gave their verdict on Dr Shacha Wangmo’s mother Tandin Bidha versus Sonam Phuntsho case. The verdict said that Tandin Bidha had to pay Nu 18 mn to Ap SP failing which she had to transfer nine of her units along with a Nu 10 mn BNB loan to Ap Sonam Phuntsho.
Ap SP during the three month period given for the verdict implementation declined to accept the nine units along with the loan while Tandin Bidha on her part offered the nine units with the loan. Both gave their stands to the Supreme Court in written and verbal submissions.
The same two bench judge deliberated on the matter and came out with an enforcement order on 12th January 2017 asking the DNP to auction the nine units. This decision was protested against by Dr Shacha and her mother and also by the Bhutan National Bank which had its loan on the building. Ap SP on the other hand claimed that once the building is auctioned he would get his Nu 18 mn.
The Court in the order set a minimum base price of Nu 2.44 mn for each apartment coming to a total of Nu 22 mn.
Dr Shacha at the time alleged that the Supreme Court was not honoring its own verdict by allowing Ap SP to get cash payment instead of transferring the nine units along with the loan to him.
The Supreme Court said that since it has already recognized that Ap SP is owed Nu 18 mn by Tandin Bidha it cannot force Ap SP to take the units and the loan and so the correct way is to get the building auctioned.
It also cited Article 21 section 10 of the Constitution which says, “The Supreme Court and the High Court may issue such declarations, orders, directions or writs as may be appropriate in the circumstances of each case.”
Legal opinions among legal experts remain sharply divided on the issue. Some say the enforcement order is flawed while others mention that once the Supreme Court recognized Nu 18 mn was owed to Ap SP it was up to Ap SP as the claimant whether to accept cash or the nine units.
This main case in between also led to a defamation case against a former BBS anchor and Dr Shacha, when the anchor on her Facebook account uploaded a testimony on the entire case written by Dr Shacha which consisted of several strong allegations. The defamation case which was filed by Ap SP was also later withdrawn by him and instead he ended up paying Nu 45,000 compensation to the two defendants.
Dr Shacha all along claimed that the original amount was much smaller and had been grossly inflated by Ap SP over time. She also said that there was judicial misconduct and inconsistencies in her case starting from the district court and especially so in the higher courts.
On the other hand a Supreme Court verdict pointed to Nu 30 mn in fraudulent loans taken by the same Sonam Wangmo and her ex-husband on forged thrams of the same property from T-Bank which had also put up a submission to the Supreme Court. Both are not in the country and Sonam Wangmo did not show up in court during the case with Ap SP at the High Court and Supreme Court level.
Meanwhile Dr Shacha said she is aware of the auction notice but her mother Tandin Bidha is not yet aware.