ACC defends its suspension order

ACC to state its position in court today

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) defended its suspension order for the Home Minister Lyonpo Minjur Dorji and Tshogpon Jigme Tshultim saying that since it is an administrative procedure and not a disciplinary action there was no requirement to inform the head of the agencies.

ACC has been asked to come to the High Court today to present its position.

ACC also said that earlier it was only under the 2006 ACC Act that heads of agencies were informed and asked to suspend officials.

“Under the 2011 ACC Act we have started directly suspending people as an administrative procedure. It is administrative as once the person is reinstated after being found innocent all benefits are also given back,” said an ACC official.

Earlier on November 15th the ACC had issued a suspension order for the Speaker and the Home Minister. The OAG approached the High Court on November 19th against the suspension order and got a temporary stay order until a final judgment was announced.

The OAG had quoted section 168 of the ACC Act 2011 which says, ‘The Commission shall, where a public servant has been charged for or convicted of an offence under this Act, inform such fact to a head of individual agency for the purpose of taking necessary disciplinary action against such public servant as required by laws’.

This section was OAG’s main defense in saying that in the case of the Speaker and Home Minister the head of the agencies were not informed for suspension.

However, an ACC official said, “Section 168 pertains to disciplinary action which is not applicable here as the Home Minister and Speaker were suspended as per administrative procedure under section 167 (2).”  According to this section ‘A public servant who is charged with an offence under this Act shall be suspended with effect from the date of the charge till pending the outcome of any appeals.’

The OAG is also fundamentally questioning if ACC has the right to suspend the two at all.

Attorney General Phuntsho Wangdi said, “We also cited section 167 (2) as it does not say who is to suspend the Home Minister and the Speaker. At the same time section 168 clearly says that the head of the agency is to be informed.”

However, an ACC official said that it was implicitly understood in the ACC Act 2011 that it would be the ACC that would suspend the two as part of administrative procedure when a case was charged in court.

One of the other main defenses of the OAG was that it was inappropriate to subject members of Parliament like the Speaker and the Home Minister to the same standard of administrative measures applicable to other public servants. The OAG’s petition said that under the National Assembly Act 2008 only the Speaker could suspend an MP and that too for a maximum of 20 days.

However, according to the ACC Act the definition of a public servant who is to be suspended also includes ‘elected official who receives salary, allowances and benefits from public funds.’

The speakers power to suspend an MP under the National Assembly Act 2008 only relates to ‘Rules of Debate and Maintenance of Order in the House,’ section of the Act more as a disciplinary issue to maintain order and decorum and does not cover the issue of corruption and criminal activities.

An ACC official said that in addition to the Speaker and the Home Minister a civil servant who was the former member secretary of the Gyelpozhing plot allotment committee Dechen Singye was also suspended.

It is understood that under the ACC Act 2006 when ACC wrote to agencies to suspend people as part of the administrative procedure the agencies would either delay or not cooperate with ACC’s suspension orders especially when it came to senior staff.

In 2006 when the Phobjika case was brought to court ACC wrote to the government to suspend the the former Wangdi Dzongda and then Labor Secretary Dasho Pema L. Dorji but this request was ignored and he was not suspended though the ACC Act called for his suspension.

Therefore, when the more comprehensive 2011 Act was brought in place ACC took on the powers of suspending people directly.

In corruption cases the ACC usually detains people behind bars and suspends them during investigation so that they cannot use their official position to interfere in the investigation. Another suspension automatically comes into effect when the case is registered. This happened both in the Samtse Mines case and the Ministry of Health case.

In the Samtse Mines case in 2009 one of the main charged NRDCL MD and former mines head Sangay Gyaltsen was not only suspended from his job but he was also detained behind bars along with Nagay and Samdrup.

In the Ministry of Health procurement case senior MoH officials like Deputy Secretary Nado, DVED Director Ngawang Tenzin, senior officers Rinchen and Pema Dorji during the course of the investigation were not only suspended but also detained.

In the Gyelpozhing case none of the criminally charged were detained or suspended during the investigation as they were not looked at as likely to hamper the investigation or misplace evidences.

In terms of suspension so far this is the first case in court of its kind.

ACC only made one exception for suspension for an orthopedic specialist in the MoH case due to the public interest involved as his suspension would cause widespread problems. However, ACC did not entertain the case of a dentist and kept him on suspension as his services were not considered essential.

As per the RCSC rules civil servants on suspension have to go on half pay but for ministers and MPs there are no such clauses.

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42 comments

  1. Its simple & crystal clear about the merits of ACC’s stand. The argument from OAG seems naive & irrelevant. ACC seems to have considered the consequences at work even with the suspension of these elected officials. That is really a good start. Best of luck for ACC   

  2. The argument of ACC is logical. It will be prudent if the DPT leadership distance itself from the individual case of the Speaker and the Home Minister. The PM is worried that the absence of the Home Minister could undermine the security of Bhutan. I think our security is already undermined by unscrupulous people assuming important leadership role in the government. Our expectation is that the PM will show same passion to curb corruption as he does to promote GNH.

  3. OAG by requesting the HC to stay the suspension order is acting as an obstacle to justice contrary to DPTs vision of equity and justice. Why are they scared to get suspended if they are not guilty which they have claimed to be so far.
    Truth must come out sooner or later. It would be good if the DPT cooperate and let the court do their part. No bad feeling to the party but it should not be seen as protecting the corrupt ones.

  4. Tell OAG to stop messing up with our country.

  5. Now ACC is started netting the big fish. Good work….keep it up.

  6. ACC also quoted this section which is section 167 (2).” According to this section ‘A public servant who is charged with an offence under this Act shall be suspended with effect from the date of the charge till pending the outcome of any appeals.’

    My doubt or question is three people involve in Gyelpoizhing is charged under Thrimzhung Chenmo and penal code. section 167 (2) says charged with a offence under this Act. Now question is can ACC do so. Offences are under Thrimzhung and penal code and suspension under ACC act.

    if you read above sections carefully, those three people can be suspended if thrimzhung and penal code gives suspension powers to ACC. otherwise, ACC have no power at all.

  7. prime minister

    here i dont know why this stupid and useless AOG comes in between, the case is not with ACC and governmnent my dear AOG, may be your office has no value to public and dats why now you all r not feeling shamefull and want to openly challange the public.The case is between ACC and individual, and i think even why cabinet minister interfare in this case, especially OUR PRIME MINISTER. were is ur equity and justic, is dont try to fly a words like equity and just in the air to make people of bhutan fool

  8. Sangay Kuenden Drukpa

    ACC’s stand is crystal clear. These two officials are charged in the capacity of an individual . So there is no need for AG to act chamcha to the present government. Here it seems that AG had already presumed that the present government will win the next election, so that he would be the next AG if he can bark like a dog today. OAG is mainly to fight case on behalf of the government. ACC is also a government institution. I think the AG’s ToR has to be reviewed to suit his thrust. Government and post like AG will come and go but as a responsible citizen OAG must think to bring up a system that our young democracy can look up as an example.

  9. ACC well done.. We are all proud of your actions. Keep up the good work. 

  10. Better to suspend AGO too. he can be charged for favoritism. AGO dont you have your kids who will take up or lead our country in future. So you may want to hand over clean government to our nex generations instead of corrupted one. Shame on you.

  11. This section was OAG’s main defense in saying that in the case of the Speaker and Home Minister the head of the agencies were not informed for suspension. == This is really a mouth piece to Prime minister by the stupid AG,as this was earlier said by Primeminister in BBS and Kuensel. Dont you fell ashame AG better keep shut or otherwise.

  12. One of the other main defenses of the OAG was that it was inappropriate to subject members of Parliament like the Speaker and the Home Minister to the same standard of administrative measures applicable to other public servants. The OAG’s petition said that under the National Assembly Act 2008 only the Speaker could suspend an MP and that too for a maximum of 20 days.

    Hello OAG please dont differenciate between Speaker and Home Minister and Civil servants when it comes to the corruption and criminal cases. We will respect them only if they are good and loyal leaders but they are real suckers forget about suspending them one day public will kick them and tie them in the Public Toilets in Tashi chhodzong. Or you mean to say that we have two laws in our country, If it was a low profile civil servant i am sure that ACC need not put their effords your office have already take the case long time back and the culprits will be already behind bars. Sad very sad to hear such words from AG Shame On you and your Office. Any way Good Luck and all the Best ACC.

    • Rather than breaking your head, it’d best if you could go suck Mommy’s nipple. 

      • prime minister

        so funny and by ur words other knows what type of people your r and ur family background. shame to know dat

  13. Big fish are caught now…there are more in the pond…great job ACC, Particularly Aum Neten and her team….keep going la…corruption zero tolerence will be fulfilled soon…

  14. It is obvious that AG is acting under the influence of PM and  DPT. If AG is there to defend civil servants then why didn’t he defend other s suspended by ACC during the investigation. PM said Speaker and Home Minister’s families are traumatized, how about those poor people Who lost their only ancestral land to the greedy bunch of  powerful people. PM makes it sound like it is impossible to run Home Ministry without  the Home Minister ha ha….who needs such corrupt person ????? Only DPT. They should have resigned on moral ground already, they must like drama.

  15. These f****** corrupt Home minister, Speaker and also OAG has to be imprisoned till death.
    ACC well done, Also other ministers such as PM and others has to be investigated

    • First investigate yourself, whether you are the son of your father. And when you find out that your father is not your real father, you can imprison yourself till death. 

  16. “Truth is always on the scaffold; Error always seeks the throne.” Keep it up ACC……

  17. haha. Some people here are arguing as if institutions are made of individuals. ACC need to learn how to interpret their ACT which is their bible

  18. Why I do not believe in OAG?
    1.  They do not study the case in detail. (within 9 days they found out the ACC investigation baseless? Is this possible?
    2. They did not taken even a day to approach HC to restrain the ACC’s suspension order. Do you think that they have looked all the acts which applies in this case within a couple of hours?
    3. They need to study the case thoroughly, this not a joke. It sends wrong signal to the public.   Mr. Phuntsho Wangdi, Hon’ble AG, please do not take this case like you used to give extempore speech about you becoming girls matron for a day when you were at Sherubtse. You are AG of the Country. 

    Why is tend to believe ACC?
    1. ACC takes time to study the case. They do not react without studying the case. For instance, after the OAG termed their case as baseless, they took some weeks to make court-case against the three.
    2. The above article also shows that ACC has clear understanding of the ACTs and laws more than the OAG does.

    • You don’t have to list the points, you simply do not want to believe.  Your analysis doesn’t explain anything. 

  19. What is AGO Karma mentioned and AOG Phur mentioned? 

  20. Now, this is no more a case between media and ACC verses individual accused, but it is also institutional credibility….Till now, non of the case OAG has returned to ACC stating that is no legal basis were prosecuted alone by ACC. This is the first time that ACC is going alone for whatever reasons- good or bad motive they have…so, now, it is the credibility of two institution as well. If  ACC wins, OAG people should step down on moral ground and if it goes other way, ACC should do same……..

    Let us remember the fact that this is not the first time that OAG is saying that there is no legal basis- there were many instances were OAG rejected the caseS investigated by ACC and buck stopped there, but in this case, ACC is going ahead for whatever reasons…Also, we should remember that ACC is not always right…they have lost many cases in the past and they won many as well….This case also may win or lose and, it is absolutely normal.

    This is obviously over sensationalized as it involves two high ranking officials and entire media is behind ACC as if these two individual has committed genocide or equivalent crime….Media has already preempted the  judgement and already indicated that if it goes in favor of these  individuals, then judiciary is biased….That is absolutely unfair. Media is forgetting its basic journalistic ethics. media is criminalizing and demonizing those accused for whatever reasons they may have. This is dangerous trend that current media is setting. Every individual, whether big or small should get natural justice. If they are guilty, they will be punished but media is over reacting with everything just coz they r in higher position and they belong to certain political class…….my request to media fraternity is, every case will have stories from both side, and please listen to both side and be fair…Listen with open heart without any preconceived notions. No body is perfect, so, it is not possible that only side will be right and other will be wrong….

    To this paper and editor, u did ur job by exposing this issue based on what u found and thought that there is something wrong in allocating those plots. And, that was excellent job u did, if it was intended to make people accountable and corrupt free society. U may be absolutely right or it could also be wrong. Now, let judiciary do their job and give final verdict. U don’t have to always defend on behalf of ACC. None of us are perfect including this paper- any of us can be wrong. 

  21. What about Mr.Lhakpa Dorji………..

    • Has a history of man slaughter, is roaming around free, is still paid. ACC deems this man doesn’t merit any investigation because murder is not a crime as interpreted their legal experts. This paper is of the same view. 

  22. While I support ACC and commend them on their courage, I also have a question as regard to what they have given in the paper. While people are suspended and detained in the past, why are these two not detained since they too being in power could have and must have tampered evidence and has also hampered investigations. Infact detention should have been the first move so that there are no collusions and tampering done. Now I think the Trowa case and Chang ugays must be pursued since they are also amounting to corruption of “big time’. now one should escape. ONE COUNTRY ONE LAW must prevail…….. Lha Gyalo!!!!!!! Long live our kings and may our bhutanese people not be harrassed by the powerful and the rich.

    • Yes ACC is double standard in its approaches, in its dealings, and even when it comes to interpretation of acts. If not for some latent force or pressure behind them they would not act funny in the first place. 

  23. I can see the outcome already so no use discussing the matter my fellow citizens.Its just a matter of time before all the accused in this case gets free of all charges.Forget about the OAG, even the Judiciary is corrupt.You all very well know the outcome of the Phobjikha case.The outcome this time will be no different.Only HM can  bring justice if not God help Bhutan especially the youths and our future generations. God please don’t let Bhutan end up like some of those countries in the middle east which i can foresee in the not to distant future, if the situation doesn’t change now for good..I don’t want to see my children and their children suffer because of the wrong decisions that we make now.

  24. Lhakpa Dorji and Pem Dorji should be charged too. Nobody should scot free in the pretext of crime committed before the enactment of the Constitution. Crime is a crime whethe it  was committed  decades ago or yesterday. Those who added  Nazis in committing crime against humanity are still prosecuted after six decades.
    We need to separate Royal family from the Gyelpoishing case, our Royalties should have immnity

  25. Cont… Immunity. These people are trying to get away from the crime by involving  Royal family and other big shots. Jigme Tshultrim and Minjur Dorji have managed to drag  them into the case so they will be the savior for them.
    Acc is right the case is against  JT and MD as individuals for the crime committed  as Mongar Dzongdas it is not against The Speaker and the Home Minister. Why should OAG  fight for them. It is wrong of the Government to ask OAG to look into the matter.

  26. Will AOG defend all corrutption cases in future. Actually, AOG role is to prosecute and not to defend the suspects. The speaker and the H Minister should have engaged private lawyers; not AOG office as the case is against two individuals rather than

  27. Phuntsho, don’t be that bitter. wait for the court’s verdict. It will certainly give an unbiased fact-based judgement that everyone must respect.

  28. No amount of criticism and comments will bring reformation to the nation only the leader who has an atttibutes of righteousness, love and justice will bring reformation to the nation. Resurrect Bhutanese thinker and young dynamic leaders today is your day!


  29. The song below is dedicated to ACC for working hard day and night for the well being of the TSAWASUM:

    ས་སྐྱིད་པོ་ང་ཡི་འབྲུག་ཡུལ་

    དྲིན་ཆེན་པོ་ང་ཡི་ འབྲུག་ཡུལ་

    མི་བཟང་པོ་བྱམས་སེམས་ཅན་གྱི་ ཡུལ་

    ལམ་བཟང་པོ་བདེ་བའི་མཆོག་དང་མཐུན་

  30. ས་སྐྱིད་པོ་ང་ཡི་འབྲུག་ཡུལ་
    དྲིན་ཆེན་པོ་ང་ཡི་ འབྲུག་ཡུལ་
    མི་བཟང་པོ་བྱམས་སེམས་ཅན་གྱི་ ཡུལ་
    ལམ་བཟང་པོ་བདེ་བའི་མཆོག་དང་མཐུན་

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