In the OAG’s ‘opinion’

The nine page ‘opinion’  of the OAG on the ACC’s Gyelpozhing report, according to a practicing lawyer in Thimphu reads like arguments put forward by a defense lawyer defending the accused in the Gyelpozhing case, instead of a government prosecutor doing his job.

Some have also seen a degree of similarity in tone and content between the past press releases issued by the government defending the Gyelpozhing case and the OAG’s opinion on Gyelpozhing.

It is also highly peculiar that the OAG whose mandate is to legally review the ACC report has gone out of its way to counter the opposition leader and the media in its report. A job that is normally reserved for the Prime Minister’s media team, not the OAG.

There is public outrage as many see this report as an attempt to get the high and mighty off the hook on the basis of some shaky legal arguments. These arguments come from a ‘government lawyer’ who as per the OAG Act can be ‘hired or fired’ by the very people he is supposed to charge.

There is a strong feeling that the OAG’s report not only lacks credibility but is also the result of a strong conflict of interest. Going by the current public mood it is difficult to imagine how the OAG report will be accepted by ordinary citizens.

As per the ACC report the crime was that lucrative plots and land in Gyelpozhing was given by the allotment committee to their own family members and influential people who were all not eligible. The result was that ordinary people who were eligible and had lost land to the project did not get their due plots.

In addition to that land which was not part of the town plan and not meant to be allotted was given away in acres. This whole allotment according to ACC was committed by violating various laws and procedures.

The fact that OAG has found only some ‘administrative lapses’ with Gyelpozhing may redefine our understanding of what is illegal in Bhutan.

By the same token the AWP case, Samtse Mines case, Ministry of Health Procurement scam, Phobjika case, MoE case, RICBL case and other cases involving numerous junior government officials, Gups, private sector employees can also be treated as ‘administrative lapses.’

The OAG’s interpretation of ACC’s Gyelpozhing report will have several far reaching implications. The OAG’s report in short has given Kidu like discretionary land powers to a local government committee. It has also sent the message that as long as one is in a government committee and influential people are involved then every possible legal violation can be treated as part of some ‘administrative lapses’.

The interpretation for some will be that individuals are above laws and systems in Bhutan.

In any other democracy a report like this would not even be printed as fiction. In Bhutan, however, the OAG has only upheld a long held maxim that there are two sets of laws for people depending on who you are.

Government authorities have the courage to come out with such reports as they well know that any opposition or criticism will be restricted to anonymous online forums. The masses in a short time will go back to their normal routine as the entire Gyelpozhing issue will be wiped out from public memory and official literature.

Sections of the media and the ACC who are already heavily over burdened and under pressure are expected to carry out the dirty work for the public much like municipal cleaners. However, if the government does crackdown on those fighting corruption then there will definitely be little or no support from members of the public or any other institution.

In a country where corruption cases are sources of entertainment and gossip rather than reflection, where the burden of fighting corruption is placed on a few, and citizens are yet to think critically there will be many more Gyelpozhings and OAG reports.

 

 

 

 

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29 comments

  1. Administrative lapses is defined in GNH term as “corruption of VIPs in Bhutan.” Influential people can never do wrong in Bhutan. A minister’s son beats a woman, no case, MOH corruptions, no case, wrong parking by VIPs is right, rape, murder, name anything is right. When a cashier is caught he is sentenced to not less than 10 years in jail. Ministers bring in cigars, it is legal, when an ordinary mane brings in he is jailed. The police chief beats ate, he is right, when I beat I am jailed. 

    Wangdu dzong on fire whether to hide bills or truth.  

    This is how my country is developing. 

  2. He who pays the piper calls the tune is an old adage which holds true in the OAG’s comments on the gyalppzhing land case. One point TL has left out is the involvement of the Supreme Court CJ who I believe put the land in his daughters name. Very clever indeed, but very unprincipled also.

  3. That is why we always say that” Bhutan is unique country and all the Bhutanese are as well unique”. Who is this practicing Lawyer?. We should appoint him as ACC’s Lawyer to prosecute those involved in the case.

    • to go himself behind the bar for taking up baseless case before the court in violation of jabmi act? haha

  4. lets wait for ACC response.

    “There is public outrage”
    … but how does one gauge public opinion and mood to write with such authority?

    • Public outrage according to this paper, which is only a figment of imagination.

      By the same token the AWP case, Samtse Mines case, Ministry of Health Procurement scam, Phobjika case, MoE case, RICBL case and other cases involving numerous junior government officials, Gups, private sector employees can also be treated as ‘administrative lapses.

      Really, I can’t imagine a paper saying such a thing, the Gyelpozhing case cannot be compared with any of the above cases.

  5. tn and good are right . There was no public outrage. There is just despair. There is no hope for any justice in sight.

    • then for that matter… how does one gauge if there is public despair?

      i dont have issues with what the public feels. I have issues with broad generalisations. The media have the responsibility to inform their readers about whose opinions they are making broad conclusions about.

  6. There is a cancer looming in this country- one law for the higher people and another for the common people. What do we expect from a below average man like of phuntso AG. AG is neither inteligent nor talented man. He got his job by default as most of his senior colleagues chose to join for more greener and respectable job such as post of Drangpon. See the leadership quality of other autonomous organisations like ECB, RCSC, ACC, RAA. He is no where. This is a lesson. We need to be careful when appointing the Head of the Organisation. Kinga Tshering brought mark improvement in BoB, Phuntsho will bring mark downfall of the OAG- see the difference between the intelligent man and the below average person.

  7. OAG is the Dog of the Government. The Dog will never bite his master. SO why do we expect OAG to take action against government. Attorney General will loose his job if he prosecute government.

    It should be ACC/Opposition party who should file case

  8. Its so sad that AGO is very short sighted as he was more worried of loosing his job. More than his job is the future of his kids, it shows he has no concern about the future generation. So sad for the future generation as they may not get the better future as they have the people shaping the future like AGO. We will never forget this

  9. Birla, he is not a practising lawyer but our very own Thrimshing Lyonpo Sonam Tobgay. If JYT is considered bad, he is not only badder, but dangerous for the country,

  10. i do not appreciate this paper generalizing and stating there is a “public outrage”. what about the people who think the gyelposhing case is just another political agenda to discredit PM and his government. what about those of us who think there is no case. 
    lets make one thing clear , gyeposhing case comes no where near to AWP case, Samtse Mines case, Ministry of Health Procurement scam, Phobjika case, etc. can’t believe TL wrote that, the extent one will go.
    if anything the report has made some of us see to what extent this paper and some persons will go discredit the present government but the truth always prevails and if anything this case is ironically serving as positive campaigning rather than negative campaigning for PM as ironic as this paper’s name.

  11. To me, we posters here look more dangerous than the most poisonous snakes in the word. We are all the time defaming our leaders. I do not know what satisfaction you guys derive by doing this. We are committing demerits of mind, speech and body( MIGAYWA CHU=TEN DEMERITS) unnecessarily. It is a great sin! It will have lot of impact for oneself, children and many generation to come.

    • How much manpower & resources did it take ACC to complete their investigation that went on for a whole year? Now that their investigation is over, if it doesn’t even see the light of day in court, it should have never started. It is only wasting tax payer’s money, our money!

      ACC should take over the case and take it to court. Let the courts decide. Dasho Neten hopefully has more balls than the AG.

      Till date, OAG’s biggest accomplishment: Sending a monk to prison for carrying few packets of tobacco! I wonder if the AG even gets to sleep peacefully at night.

  12. Birla:

    I hope this case will be settled as per the law of Bhutan peacefully, otherwise there is a high chance of internationalisng it if we do not get justice as high ranking people and Judiciary are involved. Possibility of featuring this case in CNN, BBC and other international media is possible. The worse senario will be, if there is no justice, Bhutan will be condemned by the donor agencies and construe Ministers and influential families as bullies.

    If there is no justice in Bhutan, the International Court of Justice will watch how this is handled. It will be shame to us, our leaders and influential families. Tshogpen need to be prosecuted and simultaneously, land beneficiaies including PM and extended Royal families as reflected in the ACC report could initiate to volunteer to surrender the land ownership to maintain and sustain the credibility and respect which has been nurtured by our Kings. The land could be surrendered to NLC/ACC/Monggar Municipality before things become worse and heated up.

    • Why only Tsogpon ? you are too bias why not Lhakpa Doji and LMinjur Dorji during their era and all  influential peoples? Let the law take its own course and let the people hear their greivences about the case. 

  13. sunmoom,

    International Court of Justice has more important issues to prioritize like Syria, Libya, Egypt and many more where thousands of human beings are slaughtered like chickens. Our case is an eye shit as there is no legal basis to pursue it through court in Bhutan itself. So why at international level.

  14. AG as a lawyer has killed the hopes of many innocents for now and forever. I wonder how many Drangpons/Lawyers must have delivered or served judgment fairly so far to the people-only God knows.

    If I were you I would be dying from inside with guilt and shame by one’s act for proving right as wrong and wrong for right . Don’t act as if you are to live forever. Lord of Death donot consider your certificates valid to pass his judgment. He shall serve you better and fairly.

  15. By the way Mr./Mrs. sunmoom,

    Have you emailed the Gyelpozhing case to CNN, BBC, ABC, NDTV etc to make it an international issue? Bhutan’ s image is wonderful globally. No one can sabotage its name. Remember, how many foreigners were there in the three days Thimphu Tshechu, it was almost one foreign for every ten Bhutanese. Why do you think these tourists are coming to Bhutan despite being very expensive. It is just because it is Bhutan the land of GNH and the PM being the Promulgator of GNH.

  16. Birla, you live in a dream world and you probably will also believe in fairies. Hundreds and thousands of tourists swarm Nepal and in some island countries the tourist even out number the locals. I don’t believe that most tourists are attracted to Bhutan because of GNH and the PM. From the little I hear from the tour operators most don’t have any clue about GNH. The tourists come to Bhutan because it’s an exotic destination that few have visited and also the charm of its unique  culture and pristine environment.

    • what is unique culture and pristine environment. Don’t you think it is GNH pillar. usa, you need to read before you make blind comment

  17. Genuinly poor people and those surviving on few acres of agricultural lands are forced to vacate their homes and land claiming its “government Land”…… Here is a test that genuinenly interested should keep track of….. Land grab from the government land or from common people… this cannot be a democracy… where have we landed?… sure we are not going to be in this position for long… there shall be justice and one rule for all in BHUTAN….

    • It is very sad to hear about the decision taken by OAG.Indeed,OAG must be very vigilant enough to interprate the cases in the most intelligent manner which can be justifiable to every citizens of our nation.Looking at the decision taken by the OAG, Does any body saw any logic or does OAG really serves the purpose of TSA-WA-SUM.Trusted people can steal the heart upon encountering with big scam committed by a group of big fishes who have a power and pocked flled.I wonder !!! does the rule of thumb applies in the Bhutanese young democracy like that in Accounting(powerful people always won despite of involving in or committing any degree of crimes…..please ACC …broaden your horizon of your analytical and intellectual power to draw a reasonable,trust able,logic gable,balanced,transparent,accountable,trustworthy,unconflicted inferences to such a topical emerging issues that have happend in Bhutan.hope you will apply the concept called “Law has no eyes”.

  18. feudalism at work. …medieval europe situation

  19. Feudalism in the dress of Democracy….

  20. It is just the rotten smells of so called vibrant democracy.

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