Guilty officials go scot-free and land recovery still at large

The High Level Committee report of 2003 brought  to the forefront 45 cases involving influential people and hundreds of acres of grabbed land in Thimphu.

However, an investigation by The Bhutanese has shown that no serious action has been taken against the land officials, Dzongdas and Drangpons involved.

This paper has also found that though thrams have been deleted in most cases the National Land Commission (NLC), Thimphu Dzongkhag and the Thimphu District Municipality (TDM)) are yet to physically take over the excess lands on the actual sites.

 

No action against officials involved

One of the main culprits in the 2003 reports are also Drangpons or Judges who gave themselves excess land illegally and also approved illegitimate transactions.

In one case, 170.64 acres of community Tsamdro had been illegally transferred to mainly 29 Judges and court officials, and two relatives of Dzongda Karma Dorji.

The Judges involved were Judge Adab Chado now in the Thimphu Dzongkhag court, Judge Ugyen Tenzin, on deputation, Judge Passang Dorji, retired from High Court, Judge Kuenzang Tobgye, retired from High Court and Judge Tshering Dorji, also retired.

In addition to these judges involved then,  there were also around 15 court officials like bench clerks who had Tsamdro land registered in their names.

However, though these judicial figures had violated the land act 1979 and Royal Kashos they were not held accountable.

Dzongkhag land record head Sonam Norbu is named four times in the report asking for action and also a charge sheet; he only saw compulsory retirement along with his benefits intact. Sonam Norbu had been refused land Kidu for a plot in Lanjophakha as he had adequate land. In spite of that he went to the extent of grabbing the same land and registering it in his name.

Sonam Norbu had conveniently given 10 decimals from the 40-decimal plot to the then Thimphu Dzongda Karma Dorji’s wife. Thimphu Dzongda Karma Dorji’s name is reflected three times for action to be taken but he also saw only compulsory retirement with his benefits intact.

Former Land Records Lhakpa Duba has been named 14 times in the report as the officer liable for the lapses. Though he was retired by the time the report came out there was no action taken against him.

Land record assistant officer Gyaltsen is also mentioned in the report as being liable but he too was not held accountable.

Former Thimphu Dzongda Dorji Namgyel is also mentioned in the report but no action was taken.

Former Surveyor General Cithar Namgyel and then assistant land director and now surveyor general Ugyen Takchu were also named in individual cases and were to be held accountable.

Cithar Namgyel became a judge while Ugyen Takchu was promoted the post of the land director and then the surveyor general.

 

Lands yet to be recovered at site

After the High Level Committee report was completed one of the key recommendations of the report was to delete the excess lands from the Thrams and physically go at the site to remove fencing or other constructions.

For this, responsibility was entrusted to the NLC which in turn delegated the responsibility for the urban areas to the then Thimphu City Corporation (TCC) and for the rural and extended municipal areas the Dzongkhag was given the main lead.

All three agencies deleted most of the thrams but, since the landowners in question involved influential people the three agencies conducted a half-hearted implementation on the ground.

The result was that thram deletion took longer than usual with some cases still pending and in almost all cases, land has not yet been physically taken over at the site with the excess land still being used as their own.

The NLC officer, Kezang Tenzin posted in the then TCC and now TDM in 2002-03 mainly to help TDM implement the High Level Committee report concerning around 25 cases went to the extent of filing a false and inaccurate completion report stating that all thrams had been deleted and lands had been taken over.

It was based on his false completion report that a 2007 status report on the implementation of the high level land investigation reported several “solved” and “action taken” cases.

After Kezang Tenzin left, TDM officials were shocked to find that some thrams had still not been deleted and none of the plots had been taken over physically to be  part of government land.

It was only in 2010 that TDM officials were able to delete the remaining thrams. However, both TDM and the NLC were not able to agree on taking over the sites.

TDM in its defense says that its proposal to the NLC to form a joint team to physically verify and take over the sites was not accepted. TDM officials say that since the entire mess was discovered in the NLC they should also help TDM.

In fact on September 2010, the TDM had again requested the NLC  on forming a joint verification team but no action was taken.

TDM officials claim that now the only option is that during the drawing up of the ongoing 12 Local Area Plans (LAPs)  in Thimphu the excess land is automatically deducted.

The Thimphu Dzongkhag which received mainly extended urban and rural cases is also faced with a similar situation.

In a recent meeting with the NLC, the Dzongkhag administration had asked the  commission to come up with clear cut areas that need to be demarcated as Zhungsa (government land) as per the High Level Committee report.

The land record officer in Thimphu Dzongkhag, Tashi Tobgay said that of the 10 cases with them most of the owners have applied for Kidu. So far they have not demarcated any land as Zhungsa because it is not clear as to how much land can be retained by people. Of the applicants, Dasho Ugen Dorji’s land has been regularized after a Kasho was granted to him in 2006 on his earlier excess 8.59 acres of apple orchard in Semtokha.

The Dzongkhag land section said that now the only solution could be the National  Cadastral Resurvey.

A TDM official said that if excess land is not taken over from the site then there were chances that this land would be sold to unsuspecting buyers and be misused for economic activities like construction or orchards.

Many landowners had also taken the option of replacing the land from other Dzongkhags which was an alternative at the time.

Some have taken the legal route like prominent business man, Umtey Penjor who has recently filed a case in the district court against the committee’s decision to delete his 20 acres of apple orchard. He claimed that his land was registered in 1967 and in 1969 he was issued a letter by the forest office asking him to replace the cleared area by apple trees. He claimed that the reason stated by the High Level Committee for deleting 20 acres was that the land was granted to him by the Finance Minister in 1974. How can the Minister allot him land in 1974 when it was already registered in 1967, asked Umtey Penjor.

 

About Kuenzang Choden

28 comments

  1. Open robbery of Government Land in Bright day Light, will make the People /Public / Community loose faith in Government and in the system of DRANGTHRIM. Dasho Neten should not go by TAI TAI BAY system and Head of Supreme Court should take action against Drangpons involved in such cases.

  2. …all the hypocrisies of the govt out in open….keep up the brave work BB.

  3. Haha, this is Bhutan. In Bhutan, a person carrying three bundles of tobacco is imprisoned for three years but the high level corrupts who sucks the blood of the nation through their hypocritical proboscis runs the system with pride. What else can we expect of the last Shangrilaa? The famous maxim, “In water and in bad government, the lightest thing floats at the top” seems to be right for our country. This information does not enlighten but disturbs the citizens.

    • I concur with your views completely, everywhere we look there seems to be only crooks. And to make it worse, all these years, we had to listen to our government who kept on telling us that there was hardly any corruption in Bhutan. It is disheartening to note that this virus called corruption has pervaded in to every section of Bhutanese society and the biggest culprits being the ones who preach so much about zero tolerance to corruption.

      For our country to move forward, we need to get rid off all those parasites who have sucked the country dry so far and all those big shots certainly need to be made an example of, failing to do so, would mean only more trouble for Bhutan.

    • one judge passes the buck on convicting chang ugyen and another follows the rules and throws a gelong into jail for just possession of chewing tobacco.
      Whose responsibility is it to prosecute chang ugyen? That’s what the RAA report demanded because of evidence of tampering and forgery. The OAG needs to wake up and open a case against Chang Ugyen. Chang Ugyen was never prosecuted for forgery and it needs to be done if the government wasn’t to have any credibility of being just. 

  4. Wah!!! GHN country,Wah!! the last sanghrila.
     Every Bhutanese know about it that such things were happening and still happening.The only thing was public could not voice against it in those days.

    Now we have RTI Act and all and we can voice against such crime and criminals.Those suckers were sucking the govt.property and all in the name of Tsa Wa Sum.What a hypocrisy and Hippocrates our ministers and dzongdas and all.It is a big shame that we feel so proud to call ourselves a GNH country when in fact nothing is GNH for general public.GNH is for these  corrupt officials.
    Thumbs UP BB.keep it up.Let the public know how these suckers managed to do all these and accumulate so much of wealth,send their sons and daughters to foreign universities at the Govt.expense.Let us know these all.BB leave no stone unturned.tell us the truth.Tell to us the public even if PM.Je Khenpo and who ever ministers involved.Heard few years back Je Khenpo exchanged some land at CHP.
    This is some positive point of our Democracy.
    Gud Luck

  5. Whatever happened, happened. Lets move on and bury the past. Grabbing Government land was the trend those days. Most of the big shots who have huge buildings in Thimphu and surrounding areas got their land in the same way, either they were given as Kasho or grabbed. How far can we dig.

  6. Hum…. reading through the article, i am going to go mad and i wish i have a magical power to burn all those corrupt people alive. Particularly i feel so sad to know that the people to whom the people, government and the king have placed so much faith and trust can do such corrupt of taking away the common property of us and the future generation la.
    I wish i can come on streets like the NANA HAZARI and demand for justice.
    I know at this juncture nothing will happen simply because it is difficult to find a big shot who is corrupt free and interested to bring Justice la.
    So my conclusion is please think 1000 times when you vote next time.
    Thanks for the “theBhutanese” news paper, we are all with you la. Keep bringing such topic. LET JUSTICE PREVAIL IN THE LAND OD HAPPINESS.

  7. Sometimes, I outmostly feel that those betrayal and influential people should be subtracted from the census of the world population because where ever they go, they will creat the problems.

    I have lost trust on the OAG, beacuse instead of fighting for the corruption, they themselves are corroupted.

  8. this is GNH country, a land of miracle, anything can happen here,,,, PM stop bullshitting and lying about our country and its beautiful nature, people, shit all rich people are corrupted

  9. What’s happening in the Land of GNH? 

    Dasho Neten needs to put on her ACTION shoes.

  10. thumbs up The Bhutanese!!!grt job!!!i feel ashame n pity on those high official who talks abt law …kick them all!!

  11. i knew that Drangpons will be the most corrupted person in Bhutan. As they are the law holders and they know how to twist the law. If any body fight against them or try to fight case with them the Drangpons can help each other and the other person will be the looser at last.

    Kinzang Tobgay and Adap Chador, those two crooks are the great Chamcha to High level and till now they are bullying the innocent and poor peoples. Incase of High level peoples they can clean their toilets and wash their wife under wear.

    So sad to hear that our rulers and law maker have fallen in the depth of corruption and converted govt land into their names. I wish if another Rongthong Kinley to be born and brought up in Bhutan and People like Tenzin Lamzang can multiplied in Media.
    Also i wish if or Govenment can Transfer our Governer Daw Tenzin to either as a head of Anti Corruption or Land Record.

  12. Now tell me guys, where does Bhutan stand in the list of corrupted countries of the world?

  13. no worries all rich people r gone through this process..so sad to hear these things

  14. Samden Drup Matsug

    No wonder these people enjoyed. Our government always nurture such crooks who has gutts to grab more land and put other people behind the bars for trivial issues. Those implicated people will never go behind the bars because the judges themselves are there to protect their old friends. Dasho Neten might try her best but i doubt. The government will never get the land back from these individuals.

  15. helo….

  16. its time for the people of Bhutan to do something with these Traitors…..i request the general mass to judge who the real anti-nationals are in our holy land???….the innocent southern Bhutanese children do not get NOC or police clearance just because 20 yrs back some distant relatives fleet the country….what does those innocents who weren’t born done to the country so they r deprived of getting NOC or clearance??…and these bastard Dzongdags and scoundrel Drangpons go scot-free!!…..and this DPT Govt. claims that they r ruling with “equity and justice”..!..DPT govt cannot punish these deserters because they themselves including PM are involved…..and they claim that their governance is based on GNH…..
    only if these traitors are jailed new honest and patriotic people will fill up their post!!!
    i feel guilty of respecting these officials lowering our heads with sacred kabneys!!..whom i was respecting!!!

    • Exactly, while all these big shots have been bleeding the country dry with their corrupt activities, innocent lotshampas who were not even born during the ngolop uprsisings of the early 90s can’t even get an NOC. 

      We dealt with the Ngolop problem then, but maybe, if things don’t improve we will have an uprising from within and if this happens, all hell will break loose.

  17. To say I am extremely disappointed with the performance of the DPT government is an understatement, even after 4 years, they have not even managed to solve the NOC issue. If they say they cannot solve it for reasons best known to them, at least stop giving these poor people false promises so that they at least don’t waste their time running from pillar to post.

    As for people not even born during the troubled times, why is it so hard for the government to accept that they are innocent and give them their NOCs.

    • Till date. Most of the rich people in our GNH land made their fortune just by stealing public funds. Corruption is already cemented in the bhutanese society. Need a leader like Sadam Hussien to nail down all these inhuman criminals once and for all.

    • tenzing tshering

      heard that one present high court judge had sold 2 acres of govt land in phuntsholing, any actions taken so far by acc?
      again one high court judge took out patang to kill a lady over a case , all most all judges are corrupt…. they accept land and money to win cases………… all involved must be impeached n thrown out and brought to justice in front of the public including sangay khandu of high court who said people will have to abide by what ever judges say in the interview on marriage act…recently…. horrible comments by sk, better resign.

      tthe judges say they are the law especially lunten dubjor….. we dont think your are above OUR KING….. Mark your words lunten d

  18. This is out right act of betrayal of the trusted entrusted upon them  Corrupt officials must be investigated and if found guilty made to pay heavily so that future officials don’t repeat it. I remember one time many corrupt officials being imprisoned. That was the time a single Dzong had plenty of dzongdas. 

  19. very shooking and sad as most people’s(poor) hut were removed by thimphu city officals in 2007 from government land and could not do any thing to high people. also i am very sad that those people who did all these thiings are worst than any thing because they felt that they are the only one in the Bhutn and even they have never thought of our beloved king. Lastly those things happened because our judiciary system is very weak and executive post holder never work for peole and country. I wish i were born in other places where there is no words of GNH.

  20. Manipulation of the Chagzag Thram during the New Sathram Compilation time in 2000-2002 under Thimphu Dzongkhag.
    1. Land at Gangchey 
    In 2002-2003 the High level committee for land instituted as per the command of His Majesty the 4th King investigated numerous land grab cases under Thimphu. One such case registered as case no.34 pertains to Late Dasho Nidup’s illegal conversion of 4.5 acres land at Kharsadrupchu from sokshing to pangshing in 1987. The land was later acquired by Bhutan Telecom to set up there infrastructure. The owner was alloted Satshab was alloted at Gangchey, Babesa near Nezergang Lhagkhang.This illegal land conversion from Sokshing to Pangshing was revoked and the Thrams deleted as per the High Level Land committee’s decision. The Dzongkhag Administration Thimphu was directed to take over the illegal Satshab alloted at Gangchey and hand it over to Forest. The 4.5 acres sokshing was to be restored in the thram at its original location. However it is being understood and confirmed that the Thram was not deleted and the Land at Gangchey not taken over by Dzongkhag administration. Instead it is being observed that the land at Gangchey is being developed currently. This is a serious lapse on the part of the dealing officials at National Land commission Secretariat and the owner who has misguided the authorities by stating that the land has been deleted and handed over to the Government.

    2. Building under construction on plot no. 48, Thram no. 342 below Express way opposite to Sharee square:
    The plot no. 48 Thram no. 342 initially measuring 19 decimals but later increased to 33 decimals below Express way and opposite to Sharee Square is  registered in the name of Namgay Wangmo, w/o of acting Chief Justice Sangay khandu and daughter of Naku. According to the then Tshogpa who currently resides at Changbangdu the initial registration of the plot was not done as per the rule.  The tshogpa reiterated that during the New sathram compilation time in 2000-2002 when Naku was the Chang Gup he tried to object to the registration during the Survey as well as in the meeting at  Dzongkhag Level but people including the Dzongdag and other dealing Officials did not pay any heed and later it was found to be registered in the name of Namgay wangmo. Surprisingly, there is no proper documentary evidence available for the registration of the land which has become suspicious. A massive 5 storied structure has been constructed on the plot which is nearing completion. The cadastral map shows the location of the Plot at a different location but currently construction has been done at a different location. Based on the records available at the NLCS thram was said to be transferred from one Namgay Lhamo but there are no details available about Namgay Lhamo( land seller).

  21. Manipulation of the Chagzag Thram during the New Sathram Compilation time in 2000-2002 under Thimphu Dzongkhag.
    1. Land at Gangchey 
    In 2002-2003 the High level committee for land instituted as per the command of His Majesty the 4th King investigated numerous land scam cases under Thimphu. One such case registered as case no.34 pertains to Late Dasho Nidup’s illegal conversion of 4.5 acres land at Kharsadrupchu from sokshing to pangshing in 1987. The land was acquired by Bhutan Telecom and Satshab was alloted at Gangchey, Babesa near Nezergang Lhagkhang.This illegal land conversion from Sokshing to Pangshing was revoked and the Thrams deleted as per the High Level Land committee’s decision. The Dzongkhag Administration Thimphu was directed to take over the illegal Satshab alloted at Gangchey and hand it over to Forest. The 4.5 acres sokshing was to be restored in the thram at its original location. However it is being understood and confirmed that the Thram was not deleted and the Land at Gangchey not taken over by Dzongkhag administration. Instead it is being observed that the land at Gangchey is being developed currently. This is a serious lapse on the part of the dealing officials at National Land commission Secretariat and the owner who has misguided the authorities by stating that the land has been deleted and handed over to the Government.

    2. Building under construction on plot no. 48, Thram no. 342 below Express way opposite to Sharee square:
    The plot no. 48 Thram no. 342 initially measuring 19 decimals but later increased to 33 decimals below Express way and opposite to Sharee Square is  registered in the name of Namgay Wangmo, w/o of acting Chief Justice Sangay khandu and daughter of Naku. According to the then Tshogpa who currently resides at Changbangdu the initial registration of the plot was not done as per the rule.  The tshogpa reiterated that during the New sathram compilation time in 2000-2002 when Naku was the Chang Gup he tried to object to the registration during the Survey as well as in the meeting at  Dzongkhag Level but people including the Dzongdag and other dealing Officials did not pay any heed and later it was found to be registered in the name of Namgay wangmo. Surprisingly, there is no proper documentary evidence available for the registration of the land which has become suspicious. A massive 5 storied structure has been constructed on the plot which is nearing completion. The cadastral map shows the location of the Plot at a different location but currently construction has been done at a different location. Based on the records available at the NLCS thram was said to be transferred from one Namgay Lhamo but there are no details available about Namgay Lhamo( land seller).

  22. Justice is all about fairness but more often, it is not.

    I am a humble law abiding citizen and I have no personal relation with any influential or powerful people. But I wish if our law could be more fair, just and transparent. The Drangpons sitting there should realize that they are there not to bend or manipulate the law or threaten innocent people but to deliver justice without fear and favor in the interest of the common people as envisioned by our Great Kings.
    I have come to realize that Drangpons in Bhutan are given unlimited authority. Drangpons based on their connection/relations with the litigants can twist the whole case and favor somebody.
    It is high time we set up Jury system like in other countries so that  the Drangpons cannot manipulate the case as per their wimps and fancies. The Jury should consist of some eminent people appointed by His Majesty  the  King who at times need to confront His lordship the Hon’ble chief Justice of Bhutan. Currently there is only one person who can disagree with his Lordship. Except Dsaho Rinzin Gyeltshen the rest of the Drangpons will not even think of going against His lord ship’s order because the senior Drangpons are his Lordship’s  Chamchas and the younger lots are very loyal to him because he has groomed them. Drangpons like Kinley Tshering, Shera Lhundup and Damcho should be reappointed back in the court to replace Sangay Khandu, lungten Dupjor before they ruin the  Judiciary system of our country. The  Public in general are loosing their faith in the Judiciary system therefore the Judiciary needs immediate overhauling before it is too late. As enshrined in our constitution the common people of Bhutan has the fundamental right to demand fair Justice .   

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