The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has charge sheeted the owner of the Amen Arts/Prints and Rubber Stamps in Thimphu (not to be confused with Amen Tours and Treks) under several counts of forgery on Thursday to the Thimphu District Court.
The issue all started last year when there were rumors that somebody was forging documents for students going abroad to study. The police verified the information through sources and then sought a court order and on 13th October 2023 searched the two office locations of Amen Arts/Prints and Rubber Stamps.
The raid uncovered a trove of court seals, bank seals, public notary seals and also seals of colleges and educational institutes.
The raid found 2 Royal Court of Justice Round Seals, 1 Registrar Notary Public Thimphu District Seal, 3 seals of the Assistant Judge Notary Thimphu, 2 signature seals of Assistant Judge Notary Thimphu, 1 seal of the Court Registrar Notary Royal Court of Justice in Paro, 1 seal of the District Court Bumthang, 1 rubber stamp of the Chief Judge Dzongkhag Court Wangdue Phodrang, 1 Certified as true copy of the original Rubber Stamp and 1 attested Rubber stamp.
The owner also had Department of Civil Registration and Census Seals and Stamps and here there were the DCRC rubber Round Seal, Chief Civil Registration and Census Officer Rubber Stamp and Chief Civil Registration and Census Officer Rubber Signature Stamp.
The Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment Seals and Stamps were also not spared. The BCSEA Round Seal was found and the Controller of Examination, BCSEA Thimphu Seal was also found.
Regional Revenue and Customs Seals and Stamps were also found with one RRCO Round Seal, Dy. Collector, Tax Administrator, RRCO Thimphu Seal and the Tax Officer, Tax Administration Section, RRCO, Thimphu Seal.
The police found copies of four fake marriage certificates, three National Land Commission letters, 8 tax or DCRC reports, 7 fake BCSE and BHSEC mark sheets, 3 BoB letters, 6 Bhutanese and foreign University certificates and mark sheets, 1 household census information, 1 trade license, 2 forged driving licenses.
The owner was basically forging a host of documents like document notarizations, marriage certificates, census documents, bank statements, land valuation, mark sheets, degrees, driving licenses, seals of private companies and more for students going abroad.
He had the ability to forge around 99% of the documents required to go abroad.
For example, he would ask for an original bank statement and then edit it and add a bank balance to it and put the bank seal on it.
He could increase the land valuation again using editing.
He did not require the physical seal all the times but he could edit and make them on his computer and then colour print them.
The police could not access the data base for which students he did this and for some they could identify, the students were already abroad.
The accused had even mastered how to give the water colour mark.
On the lower end, he charged Nu 100 and on the higher end he charged Nu 5,000 per fake driving license.
He confessed to the police that he had started doing this after the lockdown ended.
The equipment recovered from him was a Dell Inspiron laptop, HP laptop, Optiplex 9020 CPU, Pen Drives and 1 Die Cutter No. 8251.
While he claimed to do the works for students going abroad a question also arises if he is lying and did the same for locals and if there are others like him doing the same.
This could lead to massive fraud if this happens at a larger scale within Bhutan where any kind of official document can be doctored or manufactured.