The OAG has appealed against the District Court’s decision to acquit two former executives and a general manager of the RICBL in the Nubri Capital investment case. The office submitted its appeal to the High Court last week. RICBL’s former Executive Director Sonam Dorji, former General Manager Yeshey Jamtsho, and General Manager Kinzang Dorji were tried at the Thimphu District Court for irrational investment in the private fund management company as well as for alleged abuse of functions, failure to declare a conflict of interest, and forgery.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, RICBL bypassed the investment guidelines and invested 100 million ngultrum in Nubri capital at an interest rate of nine per cent in February 2013. After three days, Nubri Capital re-invested Nu 108 M in the RICBL at an interest rate of 11.75 per cent. The OAG stated that this is against the Regulations for the issue of Corporate Bond 2012.
Since the former ED had participated in the financial transaction committee meetings despite being Nubri Capital Private Limited’s active promoter, he was charged with failing to declare a conflict of interest. He is also said to have participated in the RICBL’s Asset and Liability Committee which is the management’s top decision-making body and participated in almost all fund-related committee meetings without declaring a conflict of interest.
However, the District Court last month gave him the benefit of doubt by deferring the charge. The court stated that while there is circumstantial or indirect evidence of conflict of interest since he is the company’s promoter, it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The court also stated that there was documentary evidence where the ED had declared a conflict of interest.
However, the OAG in its appeal has claimed that the former ED allegedly forged a backdated letter declaring a conflict of interest to make it appear that he had given authority to the General Managers in signing the investment contract agreement. The backdated letter falls on the Losar holiday. This, the OAG said proves the letter was forged.
The Thimphu District Court acquitted the alleged forgery and abuse of function charges because the investment flow was routed through four committee members.
However, the OAG stated that he was the mastermind of the whole scheme and had purposely directed the two general managers to invest in bonds of Nu 100 M with Nubri Capital. The two general managers not only confessed to the investigating agency but also before the court that they acted merely upon the instruction of the then ED.
The two GMs are said to have agreed to a lesser degree plea bargain agreement and aided the investigating agency to trace critical information.
The District Court last time, also acquitted the charge of abuse of function against the two general managers. As per the District Court, the decisions to invest in Nubri Capital were made by the RICBL’s Asset and Liability Committee. As per the verdict, if the three defendants are guilty, the remaining members of the committee should also be held accountable.
Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen