The much publicized auction of Aum Tandin Bidha’s building did not see any buyers coming forth on the 30th March 2017 auction date, as set by the Department of National Properties (DNP), under the Ministry of Finance.
With no buyers turning up the auction was cancelled and the matter is likely to be referred back to the Supreme Court by the DNP for further directions.
The DNP did the auction on the basis of an order from the Supreme Court to auction of nine units.
Dr Shacha Wangmo said that people may not have come forward due to the controversy around the auction. She said, “I am waiting for another Supreme Court verdict as they will find a way to pay AP SP.”
Ap Sonam Phuntsho said that the Supreme Court’s base price of Nu 22 mn for the nine units was too high and it should instead be set at Nu 18 mn which is the amount owed to him. Ap SP said that he would be happy if the Supreme Court allowed him to take over the nine units.
Meanwhile, prior to the auction, the DNP had gone to inspect the building and found that half the building minus the ground floor did not make up nine units and so the Supreme Court allowed the DNP to modify the auction notice saying the entire left side of the building is on sale. The earlier notice had said nine units on the left minus the ground floor are for sale.
Both the Supreme Court and the DNP declined to comment on the issue or what would happen from here after the failed auction.
On 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. The Nu 18 mn was an alleged amount taken by Tandin Bidha’s daughter Sonam Wangmo from Ap SP. Sonam Wangmo, who did not appear for the court hearings, co-owns the building with her mother.
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.