The first hearing of the Lhakhang Karpo case was held on 9th February in the Haa district court where the Office of the Attorney General listed out the various charges against the seven defendants in the case.
The Foreign Minister who is on authorized absence was charged with two cases of abuse of function.
The first charge is with regard to the minister as the then Dzongda without consulting with the tender committee allotting timber cutting works at Nu 1.4 mn to L.D Sawmill which had already been earlier rejected by the tender committee.
The second charge is using the Dzongkhag DCM truck to transfer some of his private timber he procured in Haa to his house construction site in Thimphu. Based on market rates, the minister has been asked to refund Nu 80,000 for the 10 trips.
The owner of L.D Sawmill Tshewang Penjore has been asked to refund the Nu 1.4 mn.
Project engineer Tashi Gyeltshen has been charged with seven cases of official misconduct and three cases of bribery, forgery and embezzlement.
The OAG charged that that Project Engineer, Tashi Gyeltshen, had solicited and acquired a bribe of Nu 100,000 from the owner of TNW Construction, Tshewang Rinzin. Tsewang had offered Nu 100,000 to Tashi to accept the poor quality sand and the amount was deposited in the project engineer’s bank account.
The project engineer has also been charged for accepting a Samsung phone worth Nu 33,500 from Nima of Pema Tshongkhang in Paro, in return for allowing forged bids and clearing an amount of Nu 624,720 in payments for repairing the existing water supply system at Lhakhang Karpo and purchase of construction tools.
The project engineer has also been charged with forging three fictional bids in purchasing GI wire for Lhakhang Karpo, where the engineer, himself, won the bid and supplied the GI wire buying it at Nu 118 per meter from Jaigoan and supplying it at Nu 230 per meter.
The project engineer had also done some private engineering work outside the Lhakhang Karpo earning Nu 150,000 for helping construct a gabion wall in Haa and a HP laptop worth Nu 46,000 for helping build a nunnery in Thimphu for contractor Kuenzang Rinzin. The project engineer, using other’s licenses bid, did four different works outside his job getting a profit of around Nu 600,000.
The project engineer is also charged with embezzling Nu 74,985 by manipulating the muster roll.
The project manager Wangchuk Tshering is charged with embezzling Nu 74,985 from the muster roll along with the project engineer.
The project manager is charged with of waving off Nu 100,380 which includes Nu 55,380 worth of woola for his relatives and neighbors.
Lhapoen, Lhab Dorji, is charged with Nu 126,305 which was collected in lieu of woola.
Nima of Pema Tshongkhang has been charged with Section 296 (a) under the Penal Code of Bhutan for forgery for submitting forged bids. Another shopkeeper Pema Wangchen has also been charged for helping with the forgery.
TNW’s Tshewang has been charged for passive trading in influence for giving the bribe.
Most of the seven defendants including the minister will be submitting their rebuttals later this month.
Earlier in late January the ACC through notifications issued on its website and the media had suspended the construction and trade license of TNW Construction and also the trade licenses of Pema Tshongkhang and Druk Leading Enterprise. In early February the ACC suspended the CDB and trade licenses of Dorji Yanglay construction and JT construction.
The ACC also got the project manager and project engineer suspended after writing to the RCSC.