Criminal charges applicable to three ministers say legal experts

There is a growing debate on the criminal charges framed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) with varying views from legal experts, the ACC and also the Mongar Dzongkhag court.

Though proven as a land scam the ACC has so far filed criminal charges only against the Speaker, the Home Minister and a then member secretary of the Gyelpozhing plot allotment committee.

According to legal experts including two former judges that the paper talked to ACC could have also applied criminal charges against the involved ministers like Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley , Lyonpo Zimba and Lyonpo Leki.

The ACC on its part has said that the judiciary can change or include other charges if it so found them. “We are not legal experts, so we leave it to the interpretation of the law by experts to include additional charges or modify charges,” said an ACC official.

In an earlier interview, the ACC Chairperson, Dasho Neten Zangmo, on the issue of criminal charges against the three ministers said, ‘it would be up to the courts to make the final legal interpretation and application.’

The issue of criminal charge is a sensitive issue since criminal charges against the three ministers would considerably dimish the electoral prospects of the Prime Minister and Lyonpo Zimba as the Election Act forbids anyone with an ongoing criminal case or one convicted of criminal case from taking part in the elections.

Judge Gyembo Dorji of the Mongar Dzongkhag court who is presiding over the Gyelpozhing case said that the court can change and modify charges if the court finds it is not correctly applied. He said he would do the same if there are similar circumstances in the Gyelpozhing case.

He said, “The court cannot delete or add charges as this would be ‘suo moto’ action with the court acting as the prosecutor, but if ACC’s charges are not relevant then the court can assign the appropriate provisions.”

The Judge said that generally courts can change civil charges into criminal ones and vice versa. He said the final nature of the applicable charges would be known in the court verdict.

According to a former judge familiar with the ‘Thrimzhung Chhenmo’ which is applicable during the period it is unfair to only criminally charge the Speaker and the Home Minister who held official posts at the time.

He said, “The main basis for criminally charging the Tshogpon and the Home Minister is because they held official positions when allotting land meaning that they were aware about the laws and even then had violated their official position and powers. In my opinion this same principal also applies in the case of the then cabinet ministers like Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba and Lyonpo Leki Dorji who also held official positions, should know the laws and accepted illegal allotments from the Speaker who was a subordinate.”

The then three ministers had accepted government land across the river which was not even part of the Gyelpozhing town. In addition to existing laws the Fourth King through numerous Kashos to the government had expressly forbidden such acts.

According to the former two judges and legal experts the ACC had taken a very lenient position in framing criminal charges  which was technically wrong and not in line with Royal Kasho’s and the Thrimzhung Chhenmo.

They pointed out that the biggest legal blind spot in the ACC’s criminal charges is that it has not charged anyone with the violation of the Fourth Kings Kasho’s prohibiting anyone else but the King to give land.

The Thrimzhung Chhenmo says, “Any Kasho issued by His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo as an injunction or directive to the general public, the Dzongkhags, villages or to private individuals shall remain in force as laws under the Thrimzhung Chhenmo until such time as they are withdrawn by His Majesty Druk Gyalpo.”

The former judge said, “This means that any violation of the King’s Kasho was in effect a criminal act and also violation of the Thrimzhung Chhenmo which can be criminally charged.” Though the ACC investigation proved that land across the river taken by the three ministers was government land not meant to part of the town no criminal charges were filed against the Speaker and the three ministers for violating the Royal Kasho specifically issued for ministers and government servants.

His Majesty the fourth King in a Kasho in 1980-81 made it clear that all rural allotment of government land can only be done by the throne. A Kasho in 1987 further reiterated that all allotment of land in urban areas were to be done only by His Majesty the King.

Furthermore, a Kasho of His Majesty to the Home Ministry dated August 2, 1991, says, “I have repeatedly instructed you that except His Majesty the King no one is authorized to allot government land… However despite my above instruction, while doing the resurvey, it was revealed that allotment of lands were made without paying any heed to my instructions by some Dzongkhags. Such allotment was supposed to be regularized according to my Kasho issued on the 17th day of the 9th month of the Wood Mouse Year and any allotment made thereafter by any member of the Royal Family and officials are to be nullified and the land allotted to be confiscated.”

According to a legal expert one of the other applicable charges against the three ministers and the Speaker not explored by ACC is Chapter six Part one which deals with, ‘Cheating and undue influence of Trade and Commerce, Unfair practice of ‘Dey’ and ‘Sang’ and of government prohibited properties.

Chapter six of CHHA 1-1, states that “the buying and selling business of the government prohibited properties shall not be permitted in any restricted place. In violation of the provision, the government would confiscate the properties transacted and forfeit the values involved. Moreover, the parties to the transaction including the witnesses will be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend from three months to three years.”

A legal expert said that allotment of government plots across the river in violation of Royal Kasho’s was equivalent to buying and selling of government prohibited properties and this section should charge both the seller which is the Speaker and the buyers who are the three ministers.

According to legal experts another criminal charge applicable under the Thrimzhung Chhenpo is section PA 11 Chapter 13 Part 1 coming under Theft.

An expert said this would be applicable on the Speaker and the ministers.

PA 11 says, “A person who bought or received any property which he knowingly knows that had been stolen and conceals the fact when inquiries into the theft are made by the Thrimkhang, will be made to restore that property to the real owner and also will be liable to punishment ranging from half the sentence liable for the thief.”

Another expert said that Chapter 16 Part 1 called ‘Apprehending of Lawbreakers’ is also applicable. Under this the legal expert said that MA 1-1 was applicable.

This section states, “A person who witnesses any other person committing an act violating the law, should report the matter to the nearest Thrimkhang or competent local authority.”






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  1. Why did u left out others more influential. Do your legal experts think they charge them also. For God’s sake just leave the past alone. It was ten years ago under different system, law and circumstances. Don’t be so desperate.

    You are doing disservice to nation by criticizing all those contributors to nation and you are doing disservice to yourself by doing selective naming.

    Leave the past alone. Don’t try to influence ACC.

    If Aum Neten Zanngmo joined political parties in future especially PDP, ACC will lose credibility. It will prove something else….

    • Hey Defox you may be hard core JYT/DPT but remember there are many cases applied retrospectively more than 15 years,therefore if it was applicable to others then,it should and must be included now,period.

    • Will you leave me after few years, if i kill your relatives and steal all your property now. I guess you will do, tell me about your property.

    • ho lo! whether it happened 10 yrs. ago or 100 yrs. ago is not a matter at all or under whoever regime it was. What matters most is that a corruption is a corruption and there is no other subsitute name for corrupt person. Corruption is a root cause for all evils, it is unhealthy for a gnh country like ours and OAG and PM or the court must not try to use their power and social status to protect corrupt people when prema facie case exist. It has and will set negative precedence, losing public trusts in OAG and DPT govtn. has already taken place. God forbid such corrupt leaders in future of our country and hope and pray sincerely that justice prevails in the world still. hell to corrupt leaders and shame on them for breaking the very trust levied on them by our king and people. Justi

  2. I am thus right, this paper is after JYT. This paper is working for some other interest group. This paper is in no way looking to strengthen democracy but create rift and chaos in the country.  This piece of article is a total attempt to accuse JYT and it has been done in a hope that the courts will convict the PM as correction of omission made by ACC. 

    As usual it has quoted ghost legal experts who are desperately hoping to influence the decisions of the courts by making their noises in the media or rather the media persons trying to emulate them. They must keep shut and let the courts do their job.  

    Interesting however to quote PA 11 says, “A person who bought or received any property which he knowingly knows that had been stolen and conceals the fact when inquiries into the theft are made by the Thrimkhang, will be made to restore that property to the real owner and also will be liable to punishment ranging from half the sentence liable for the thief.” And this should seriously apply to Chang Ugyen’s Land case where the buyers offered to replace land for him. 

    • thanks for this paper coz only this paper is bold for all the ministers, others are chamcha to ministers. keep it up such media should be needed in our democracy.that is rite issue if you know the law. if you go after DPT than this paper is not good, ha ha

      • Tokala, for God’s sake it is now democracy and nobody should be afraid of legitimately telling truth to the elected leaders or making them accountable. Are you still afraid of the ministers or the bureaucrats? I am not. Remember ministers are first MPs whom the people elected from their constituencies and people can therefore question them, and make them accountable for their doings. But mind you, we are talking doings which is very different here. So please crack open your skull and analyse with your sober brain not with your rebel or chaotic brain. Without anybody having to tell you anything, you should be able to do that yourself.  

        I agree we need bolder media but the one which is unbiased in their reporting. The one which is not vindictive. The one which does not serve small interest group. The one which is totally professional and ethical. I must have used these words umpteenth time by now. Hope this will help increase the Ph-level of your brain thus neutralizing it. 

    • Dont try to F*** . No harm is telling the truth, let the people know. every body is corrupted

    • helo phuntsho! come on don’t be such a paranoid person. I have heard some DPT MPs speaking against this paper saying this paper is against dpt govnt. and sadly its all dpt supporters or paranoid supporter like you saying all these rubbish or fake thing. this paper is an investigative paper and thanks to this paper it has uncovered many corrupted scams such a health, lottery, land grab by many powerful ministers, chang ugyen, so on and forth. The health secretary resigned on moral ground after uncovering millions of govtn. money in health procurement scam, had it not made public such corrupt leader would be occupying and misusing their position and not stopping even until their death bed.
      So, I salute this paper and yes, the bhutanese should go on and on until all corrupt persons are rooted out. Kudos!

  3. Leave the interpretation to the judiciary branch of government!

  4. So again..all against the minister. Anything to say for…the motion!! theBhutanese or will remain as it is?

  5. Name those legal experts please….

  6. Some argue that filing criminal charges against top leaders like the PM and the Chief Justice will paralyze the country. The PM and CJ are not above the law. If they break the law, they should be accountable. Bhutan will be paralyzed if it is governed by immoral, greedy and unethical leaders. The remark of the PM that Gyelpozhing land scandal occurred under different system and his government is committed to prevent corruption now and in future is insult to the Bhutanese people. The previous system did not encourage corruption. Under the previous system the welfare of the people was on the forefront. The PM should not worry about the government becoming dysfunctional. In the time of crisis we will support our King like our ancestors supported Gonsar Ugyen Wangchuk.

    • Please wake up from your deep slumber you hypocrite. Touch the ground and feel the reality. If you blame the current government (like you blame the PM) for what had happened a decade or so ago your brain is not analyzing something. Don’t assume that corruptions were not there just because it was a different system (otherwise you and I would not discuss 10 or 20 years old issue here). 

      While we must expose and punish corruptions that prevailed even during the old system I think we should respect the sensitiveness of the case because of the reasons obvious. You are being cynical and a hypocrite when you say you should punish the leaders of the current government (of the current system) of corruptions that happened during the old system which you say did not have any problem. If you want to make the current elected leaders accountable for past discrepancies (of our history) the you know what you are asking for, so its best if we put our perspective in right place. 

      • I am not blaming the current government for the corruption that occurred about 10 years ago. The people involved in the shady land deals 10 years ago are holding leadership role in the current government. This government is making life difficult for ACC. It is not proper for the current government to undermine ACC. The PM said that the families of the Speaker and Home Minister are traumatized. But he is ambivalent about the suffering endured by hundreds of families from corrupt officials. On the suspension order of the Home Minister, the PM said it will affect the security of the country. In fact we feel more insecure when people like Home Minister is responsible for our security. It is Phuntsho who should wake from deep slumber.

        • I too do not and did not agree with the PM’s statements but that doesn’t mean I do not respect him. But there seem to be procedural lapses by ACC on this occasion. However I do not buy your argument that ACC is not able to function properly or to the fullest under the current government. Why not? ACC is supposed to be an independent constitutional body. Rather ACC is trying to prove its case going public and getting involved in a legal fight over the interpretations of Acts and application of ACC Act.
          How about your PDP leadership? Say PDP won last election, do you think the PDP big guns are corrupt-free? Or that they were not tainted? I think, rather than dwelling in the past, it is best if we moved forward drawing the line from 2008.

    • sonoma!! how dare you name CJ while he dont have land there. The land belong his daughter. Do you have proof that CJ have land there and subsequently given to his daughter? will you blame or name your father if you have land in Gyelpoizhing???

      • You are sounding as if the CJ is untouchable and he is above the law. Do you understand the meaning of word “IF”. I said “if they break the law”. Do you know why the PM and ministers involved in the land deal wanted to return the land after the investigation of ACC? A couple of years ago the audit (RAA) found that Pasang Dorji owner of Karma Steel claimed millions from the Ministry of Education claiming he supplied lab equipment to the schools. The audit found that he did not supply equipment to schools but claimed millions. When Pasang Dorji was caught, he returned the millions to the Ministry of Education. ACC filed case against Pasang Dorji in Thimphu District Court. The court ruled that there was not enough evidence and in addition the non national Manager of Karma Steel absconded. Pasang Dorji was virtually acquitted. If we take this as case law, the PM and the ministers will be acquitted because they are willing to return the land. The judiciary has a track record of undermining the efforts of ACC and others. Sources close to Pasang Dorji say that he was acquitted because of the order from the “higher up”. Do you know who is the “higher up”?

        • Your argument shows that you dont have any faith in any institution. U could be one who fight for truth based on facts without knowing what the law is. No body can argue against such people. Even god cant change mind set of people like you. No offense please by the way.

        • In this case, it was fortunate that Passang Dorji paid back the money. He could have easily refused. RAA should have charged the officials at Ministry of Education. I am sure the court would have accepted the case if there was a breach of contract signed between the MoE and Passang Dorji, if ever there was a contract. Yet your analogy doesn’t apply here.

    • You please go to hell or otherwise go back to school again to learn how government functions.

      • You have been to school but you have not absorbed what you learnt. TheBhutanese is a great paper exposing truth and playing the role the media is expected to do in a democratic society. My advise is you carefully read The Bhutanese and try to apply concepts you learned in school.

    • Its enough now. I damage country. Think for the country and for general welfare of the people. People will deceide what to do. And everybody know that what is being left out beyound this paper. This paper is very selective and not good intended for Bhutan. Just go through the list its very clear. It has happened 10 yrs ago and not now. It was the system that time. Everyone can understand all these things.

      • Rigpa
        Posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:32 am
        Its enough now. Don’t damage the country. Think for the country and for general welfare of the people. People will deceide what to do. And everybody know that what is being left out beyound this paper. This paper is very selective and not good intended for Bhutan. Just go through the list its very clear. It has happened 10 yrs ago and not now. It was the system that time. Everyone can understand all these things.

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    • Once upon a time I was a thief. Since I was the smartest among all the thieves, many among thieves came together and chose me the leader. Now, I am no more a thief. I am the leader. And by the way, you know this gold ring; I stole this from your house 10 years ago. No, I am not a thief, I am the leader!

  7. Wow, this paper is becoming a joke.

    • your are a joker, if this paper is a joke, no one is forcing you to read this, by the fact you are reading joke in this paper make u a joker

      • Haha, good joke.

        • What do you mean by good joke? I think you don’t have any other things to say than
          these words.  instead of criticizing all the time, try to learn how to appreciate others work. 

          • Good joke as in good joke, so you want me to appreciate criticals work, don’t worry that is not going to happen anytime soon.

        • When you have hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail, and when you are a joker everything looks like a joke, hahaha

  8. Legal expert has to be Damcho Dorji or whatever his name is!

    • we  don’t have to know who the legal expert is when truth is in front of us. The paper is just mentioning the truth..cheers thebhutanese.

      • The paper is twisting the facts. 

        • Please can u mention one instance where this paper have twisted the facts. The media are bound by law to report the truth and they too ll be charged if they not writing the truth. if this paper has twisted the facts then why it is not charged. Reporters don’t write what ever comes in their mind, they do lots of studies to write a sentence.
          Please never ever say that the paper is twisting the fact .

    • Dear reader, I have never given any legal opinion in this issue. Be assured that if I give  my opinion I will ensure that my name is quoted and I have done that all the time. If I do give my opinion I do so in the interest of the greater good and I do it without fear or favor.

  9. many people are supporting those people who are involved in one of the biggest scam. I wonder if these kind of people are existing in our country who are in favour of those who has robbed our country.
    I think those who are supporting belongs to those involved in the scam.
    Am thinking what will happen to our country in future if such kind of scam keeps on happening and moreover if the OAG or any legal body does not take care of these things from the beginning itself.
    Hope equality and justice prevail in our country..

  10. Lets pray that the judiciary of the country would not bend the laws in favour of the involved people.
    I have lost faith in OAG.

    • You have lost faith in OAG, Now you might have lost faith in HC and soon you will loss faith in Supreme Court. U are faithless chap.

  11. Please give details of the so called legal experts.

  12. why only minister…are you targeting those ministers only… Dont you think that other people apart from ministers having land on other side should also be charged if it is so?? why not Je khenpo and others…????tsk tsk

    • seriously, jekhenpo would not have known the laws because he was not a member of the government. neither he would have come across kasho’s. because he is an ignorant buyer, charges against him are not applicable. Similarly other innocent buyers who were not part of the government cannot be chargesheeted. because they would not know the laws unlike the people who were directly provided kashos to follow. They went against Kadhos. That is why the laws prevailing then are applicable for chargesheeting against individual.

      • Hey sonam… You have not read what Kasho says!! Kasho says only king can give land!! yes speaker and home minister and the committee members have violated the Kasho by giving land…but kasho nowhere mentions that receiver shall be penalised.. If it distinction please..all ministers, royals, Je, Drangpons, farmers should be criminalized. Ignorance of law no excuse!

        • Read judgement on conviction of Gelong Sonam Tashi, the first tobacco
          smuggler convicted under tobacco Act. He didnt know that there was tabacco control Act 2010. he pleaded innocent but Still he was charged and convicted for 3 years. i dont see any reasons in your justification..sorry bro..

          • Remember buying and selling of tobacco was completely banned. Land transaction is legitimate. Innocent buyers cannot be penalised for buying a land with thier money or if they were provided by unlawful sellers and givers. That is the distinction between Geylong’s case and land scam case. The government officials who knew the laws deliberately failed to uphold the laws of the land. That is why the government officials can be chargesheeted , not private individuals who bought the land because they were not involved in selling or giving away the government land. i hope this clarifies your confusion.

    • yes you have a point, but for now we have to charge ministers with support from other, after that others will be also f***** with the help of people. 

  13. The then land allotment committee who got  many acres of land registered in their names and ministers who illegally accepted government should be charged as per the rules and regulations of our country. We as an ordinary citizens are deprived of our rights because of those corrupted officials only. Though we highly respects the noble job done to us by them we want to see the justice in front  of us. let the criminal be charged… 

    • It seems that ordinary people are the sufferers of all law and even simple mistakes, I believe i might have to take up arms to subdue all the corrupt and dictators in BHutan

  14. Even if JYT and senior ministers are out of 2013 election, DPT would still win the contest looking at the strength of other parties. PDP will not even qualify for the primary round. Most of the new parties will not even get registered.  

  15. I dont care whether lhese legal experts are ghost as along as this paper interpret the laws of our land accurately. That is important more than the interpreter.

  16. this is a check for judiciary and we should have faith in it ,,,m sure laws will be respected and applied equally to everyone,,, one who has gone wrong should be punished/corrected …any way its good that things are brought to the eyes of the public ,,,

  17. Who cares when these ministers have done, be it 15 yrs or 10 yrs back, what we care is that they have violated the basic law of the nation despite being the very guardian and  not only that they have dared to violated very instruction of 4th king. What citizen care that guilty be punished whatever position they before or even now. What they call, we serve king, country and people have obviously disregarded the King, and exploited the wealth of country and has tried to dust off or cover up the case.
    I believe that we should solute this bold paper for daring to surface the issue and let the ordinary citizen know the wolves in the clothing of sheep.


  18. Even the best of intentions have pitfalls, thus it happened so!

  19. Dear readers, I have never given any legal opinion in this issue. Be assured that if I give  my opinion I will esure that my name is quoted and I have done that all the time. If I do give my opinion I do so in the interest of the greater good.

    • It is indeed very timely on your part to clear the clouds because many might have thought that the legal expert that this paper often quotes is nobody but you. Because this paper acts like an Opposition party the readers are quite convinced that you are one of the legal experts this paper has and seeks opinion. It is was timely and a good disclaimer from you Hon’ble MP. This paper therefore has only ghost legal experts often in the form of reporters, editors and people sharing anti-government sentiments. I would therefore like to analyse that you do not endorse the interpretations of legal experts quoted by this paper. You indeed do care for the country. You have my respect Hon’ble MP. 

    • Damcho Dorji in Disguised speaks!! Hope not spirit

  20. By lager question, there are more powerful people than JYT who are involved there. If it is bold enough, why do selective reporting. The constitution says only His Majesty is sacrosanct…. not others……

    But nothing good is coming out of that. So it is better we forget past and concentrate on future…Otherwise try Zhabdrung Rinpopche for war crimes during unification…

    • Dear Defox,
      I also feel with those reputed people, but they made me landless. I think if my land is given back, they can be pardon.But if, if we just forget, people like me and my children will suffer forever


    • i support you…Why not apart from ministers?? why not why not why not… all should be in the picture.. ACC being chamcha to those???

    •  We don’t want to know whether there is more powerful than JYT who were involved in in Gelposhing land case but we want see all those who are found to be guilty be charged as per the law of the land.
      We cannot move forward without punishing those who were involved in corrupted practices in the past. Had they been loyal civil services our people(esp those in Gelposhing) would not have been deprived of their land.
      Let the court decide their fate.

  21. This paper is coward, because as pointed out by Defox above it is doing selective reporting and in vindictive nature. We feel every one knows this. Total abuse of freedom of thought granted by the constitution. If it is working like this we better embrace our old system where we were very happy,

  22. @ Birla- ‘we were very happy’?..

    Pls define ‘we’ with concrete evidence generated through empirical study.

  23. This papers expertise seems to be in the uncovering of land scams, so I am lost for words as to their reason for not doing a story on the Punaps who lost a lot of their land to some very powerful people. For that there can be only one reason and the reason is that this paper is being bank rolled by some vested interest groups who are hell bent on trying to get rid of the PM and DPT. Unfortunately for them, the majority of the Bhutanese will give a resounding victory to the DPT in 2103.

    After that, I just hope that this paper, the OL and some weirdos on this forum will just go away.

    • I think the lands of Punaps were never taken illegally by any other people and if they did, they would have been already behind the bars.
      And never blame the media for bringing out the truth instead try to appreciate their efforts and let them grow for better future.  
      We are  concerned  whether PDP or DPT or any other parties that is going to win in 2013  but we want those corrupted politicians to be punished and to be thrown away from the political parties.
      As far as i am concerned OP is doing great job and we support you for that.

      • Maybe never taken away illegally but many were forced to sell their lands at a pittance, so whatever, many people lost their land because they could not refuse the offer. Better talk to the Punaps and I am sure they will tell you what you obviously would not like to hear. 

      • How do you know OL is not corrupted? Remember he was a civil servant with a port folio who could influence in the decision making. How do you think he went for his masters in the US? What about all those pens and papers he took home from his office, for his kid?

  24. I salute to this investigative paper..dats wat a paper must do fo the pen is mightier than sword..other papers r suckers n sissy…go on the bhutanese..i have my support on u.

  25. This media is bias and does only selective reporting. Hence not professional and morally incorrect. It will do anything to denigrate PM and DPT. All agree to it ?

  26. Whole nation is behind ACC. So carry on ACC. Statistically insignificant numbers are oposing ACC. This group will be shown the EXIT door in 2013.

  27. In a parliamentary democracy Ministers who are personally implicated in serious scandals, whenever they took place, and whether or not they have been formally charged, should resign their ministerial posts until their names have been cleared – otherwise it brings the government, their party, and the whole political system into disrepute.

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