During the monthly Meet-the-Press session held in Thimphu, the new Foreign Minister, Damcho Dorji, explained why the former Foreign Minister was replaced.
He said “We all know that what happened to the Lhakhang Karpo case, the foreign minister Rinzin Dorje has been acquainted by the Haa Dzongkhag Court, in both the charges against him. But it is not the end of his case as it’s already gone to the High Court, and it may go to the Supreme Court.”
Lyonpo said, “We all are happy that our foreign minister, Rinzin Dorje, has been acquainted of charges against him but we were worried that the Foreign Ministry, which is very important ministry, will again be left without a minister for a long time.”
He added that the Foreign Secretary is on an authorized absence, and therefore, the need was felt to place a new secretary and a foreign minister in the ministry.
He also said that during the previous government’s time, the ministry did not have as foreign minister as he was on medical leave. Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said the foreign ministry is very important as it deals with foreign polices with implications on the sovereignty and security of the country. Lyonpo said, “We could not make any compromise when it comes to foreign policies, therefore, we have taken a very difficult decision so that we can have new foreign minister.”
Lyonpo Damcho Dorji pointed out that the former Foreign Minister Rinzin Dorje has acknowledged the importance of filling up of the vacancy as the court case is still ongoing and agreed to step down.
Lyonpo said this would in fact give more time to the former minister to fight his case instead of worrying about the ministry.
Rinzin Dorje was accused of favoring LD Sawmill by awarding timber sawing works worth Nu 1.403mn without consulting the tender committee and paying the sawmill Nu 37.70 per cubic foot. He was also charged for using the dzongkhag’s DCM truck to transport his private timber from Haa to Thimphu.
Haa Dzongkhag Court on 23 June 2015 acquitted the former Foreign Minister Rinzin Dorje in connection with the Lhakhang Karpo conservation project case. Anti-Corruption Commission had investigated the case from October 2012 to April 2014 after receiving an anonymous complaint against project officials of the Lhakhang Karpo in Haa.