ATM Custodian of DrukPNB convicted for embezzling Nu 10 mn from 9 ATMS

3 other employees and 1 private individual convicted for other things

The Thimphu District Court recently convicted the ATM Custodian of DrukPNB bank Thinley Jamtsho for embezzling Nu 10,474,750 or 10 million (mn) from 9 ATMs in Thimphu.

Thinley was embezzling the amounts from machines and replenishing them from other machines when checks were about to happen. He got caught when a surprise check was conducted on all 9 machines with him present.

He got 9 years for the crime with the additional stipulation to pay back the amount, otherwise it can lengthen his stay in prison.

To try and cover up the above crime he made a fake money agreement saying he had borrowed Nu 1.2 mn from a friend Sonam Tshering to show the source of funds.

He was convicted for forgery for this, as forgery also pertains to false agreements that are presented in court.

The conviction here is for one year for forgery.

In an attempt to try and put money into ATMs he with the cooperation of two other DrukPNB employees withdrew Nu 339,000 from the account of a private person Sonam Wangchuk without the consent or knowledge of the person to whom the account belonged.  The transaction also happened after office hours.

He was convicted for 6 months for abuse of function.

Thinley attempted to withdraw his confession to ACC in court but the evidence against him was too strong.

The court concurrently gave him a total of 9 years.

The DrukPNB Vault Custodian, Yeshi Nidup, who looks after the bank vault faced four charges of which he was convicted for one and acquitted for three charges.

Yeshi was convicted for abuse of function for verifying the transaction and posting it for the Nu 339,000 taken from the account of Sonam Wangchuk by Thinley Jamtsho. He got a one-year imprisonment term as he was the main perpetrator in the crime. He can pay Thrimthue.

The OAG charge was for embezzlement but the court changed the charges.

Yeshi had been charged for abuse of power by the OAG for lending Nu 7.5 mn to a friend named Tshering Dorji by taking money from the bank vault he was in charge of.

He had confessed to the ACC that his friend had come with a Nu 7.5 mn BoB cheque in a hurry and he had given the money and later when he found there was no money in the account for the cheque he had replaced it using Nu 7.5 mn from the bank vault.

Two money lenders Andu Tshering and Lhakpa also confessed to ACC that their money agreement with Yeshey showing he borrowed money from them is fake.

However, in court Yeshi, Andu and Lhakpa all retracted their confessions to ACC saying it was made under duress.

The two money lenders asserted that they actually lent money to Yeshi. Yeshi also said he had lent money to Tshering Dorji after borrowing from the money lenders and had fought a civil suit to recover it from Tshering.

Ultimately what saved Yeshi was a statement from a DrukPNB representative that from the start the bank conducts checks between the physical money in the vault and the system which are internal audits twice a month and also other checks and there was no shortage at all in the funds in the vault.

The court based on the above acquitted Yeshi for abuse of power and embezzlement.

Yeshi had been charged for embezzling Nu 750,000 but there was no evidence to support the charges.

The OAG also charged Yeshi with embezzlement after Thinley Jamtsho said that of the funds he embezzled from the 9 ATMs he embezzled Nu 2.5 mn on the request of Yeshi and gave it to him. However, with no evidence to prove such a transaction had taken place the court acquitted Yeshi.

Kinley Tenzin the Co-Vault Custodian had been charged with abuse of function for allowing Yeshi Nidup to take out money from the vault but he was acquitted as there was no evidence that money had gone missing from the vault.

The DrukPNB Chief Teller Tashi Lobsang was convicted for one year for abuse of function for creating and verifying the Nu 339,000 transcation taken from the account of Sonam Wangchuk.

Then Sonam Tshering was convicted for forgery to one year for the fake money lending agreement with Thinley Jamtsho. Sonam said that Thinley had told him that the agreement was for family purposes.

Originally, the ACC investigation was on the embezzlement from the ATM machines but it came across other issues in its investigation.

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