The Anti Corruption Commission, investigation into the Gyelpozhing land grab, has found, that most of the facts in the initial media reports on Gyelpozhing are true.
The Bhutanese talked to a few affected people in Gyelpozhing who lost land and plots to influential people. On the condition of anonymity, they said that in their discussions with ACC they had presented their facts to ACC on the illegitimate distribution of plots in Gyelpozhing.
“For us it was very clear, and we told ACC that out of the three stage allotment process only one was carried out, and that too in a controversial manner. In the second and third stage land was given directly to influential people who were not eligible,” said a Gyelpozhing local who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal.
The Investigation agency also has a cache of documents with relation to the case.
The ACC Investigation has found that in Gyelpozhing the 1980 Royal Kasho on land, whereby only the His Majesty the King can allot land has been violated.
The ACC investigation has also confirmed that the 1979 Land Act has been violated in Gyelpozhing.
The ACC investigation has also found that the allotment committee did not follow proper procedures.
Reliable sources say that the ACC investigations also confirmed that the Dzongkhag committee and the then Mongar Dzongda Jigme Tshultim had ignored repeated letters and warnings to not allot or register land in Gyelpozhing.
It has also been found that the plot allotted across the river to the Prime Minister, Lyonpo Zimba, Lyonpo Leki, His Holiness Je Khenpo and five members of the royal family was originally government land.
The government’s defense, at one point, was that the 1991 circular of the late, Dasho Dorji Tenzin, of the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement was followed. Investigations show that this was not done so and in fact it was violated.
With most of the charges coming true the people involved in the Gyelpozhing land grab, depending on the level of involvement, will be looking at a host of charges. These are like corrupt practices, abuse of power, administrative misconduct, violation of Land Act 1979 and violation of the Royal Kasho.
For example; corrupt practices could be established, if it is found that committee members broke laws to award themselves or their family plots of land.
The 2011 Anti Corruption Act has additional clauses like ‘Conflict of Interest’ under section 63 and ‘Abuse of Privileged Information’ under section 65 but it is not clear if these clauses can be applied on earlier cases.
The ACC has recently finished with their interviews which include ministers, Drangpons, private citizens, and senior civil servants who had all received the controversial plots.
Reliable sources say that ACC has also questioned members of the Dzongkhag committee that allotted the controversial plots in the first case.
Local people in Gyelpozhing that The Bhutanese talked to said that the ACC also talked to the affected parties who had lost land like in the case of Drepong Village or those that had not been given plots like local businessmen.
When asked about the cooperation rendered in interviews the ACC Chairperson Dasho Neten Zangmo said, “They are being cooperative”.
Earlier the ACC had indicated to the media that investigation would soon be over but the investigation is taking longer than expected.
“We are trying to finalize the report as soon as possible. The scope of the case is bigger than expected,” said Dasho Neten Zangmo.