The former Board Director of the National Cottage and Small Industries Development Bank Limited (NCSIDBL), Tshewang Tashi, and the Chief Executive Officer of Sai Trading Partner, Samten were sentenced to three years and six months each in prison on Monday by the Thimphu District Court.
The sentence was to do with a Nu 1 million (mn) bribe that Samten had paid to Tshewang when he was the Senior Livestock Production officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).
According to the ACC investigation of 2017 and 2018 the Nu 1 mn bribe had been given by Samten to get privileged information and fix an upcoming modern hatchery project tender in Samrang under Samdrupjongkhar.
Samten acquired some technical specifications for the hatchery equipment and drawings from a company abroad and passed it on to Tshewang in a USB drive.
Tshewang then ensured that the tender document matched these specifications.
ACC had other evidences like chat history and messages between the two over the fixing of this tender over the period of one year.
Tshewang to ACC and in the court claimed that money was part of a Nu 2.5 mn loan he took from Samten of which Nu 1.5 mn was paid first and later Nu 1 mn was paid back later along with proper receipts.
The two have appealed the case and are currently trying to get bail.
Tshewang is currently on Extra Ordinary Leave (EOL) from the ministry and has set up a private company, and was until recently the Board Director of the National Cottage and Small Industries Development Bank Limited.
Tshewang is already under investigation in another ACC case pertaining to this bank board position.
It is alleged that Tshewang Tashi as the Chairman of the Board Credit committee took part in giving his own son a Nu 5 mn loan for a meat processing unit.
Of the Nu 5 mn Nu 3.9 mn had already been disbursed.
The loans are given at a concessional interest rate of 8 percent with no collateral required and a repayment period of 10 years.
Tshewang had been appointed as the board director by the Cabinet in 2020 despite the bribery case.