Mongar Court Judge says that even Gyelpozhing plot recipients fall under the criminal case category

In what may come as a bolt out of the blue, especially for those contesting as candidates in the 2013 elections, the Mongar District Court Judge Gyembo Dorji told The Bhutanese that even those who received plots in Gyelpozhing are criminally charged. He said this was because the case of 71 plots of land is criminal and not civil in nature.

This would mean that the sentencing of the case would come out as a criminal case verdict.

Until recently with all the focus on the former Speaker, Home Minister, and 13 Plot Allotment Committee Members, it was widely assumed, interpreted and even reported that the case against the high profile recipients of 71 plots were civil in nature.

The direct and potentially major impact of this could be on the candidacy of former Prime Minister and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president Jigmi Y Thinely, former minister Yeshey Zimba, and also the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) vice president Jigme Zangpo.

This is because all three politicians have been named by ACC as having accepted plots in Gyelpozhing, given in their past capacity in 2001-2002. The politicians, if found guilty, will be criminally convicted of accepting illegal plots.

As per the Constitution Article 23 section 4.C states that, “A person shall be disqualified as a candidate, if the person is convicted of any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.”

Section 179 a. of the Election Act says, “A person shall be disqualified as a candidate if he/she: has been convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.”

The Judge clarified that even though the cases were criminal in nature, they in all probability not involve any imprisonment, as anybody could apply for land, but it was up to the allotment committee that gave the land and thus violating laws. He, however, said that cases and hence the convictions would be criminal in nature.

“The case is criminal for two reasons. One is that any case prosecuted by the state, which in this case is the ACC against an individual becomes criminal in nature. The other reason is that Section 46 of the Penal Code of Bhutan on restitution is applicable here,” said the Judge.

Section 46 says, “When the defendant is convicted of an offense, any property constituting the criminal proceeds, any weapons or articles used for any benefit or any benefits derived from such offence shall be subjected to confiscation or recovery.”

The Mongar Court which gave its verdict on the legality of the plot allotment committee and its Chairman’s decisions was supposed to give a separate verdict on the legality and restitution of the 71 plots.

The Judge, however, explained that for a verdict to be passed, the prosecutors, which in this case are the ACC would have to also be present. “Dasho Neten Zangmo had written at the time saying that her officials would be busy in the High Court with the Gyelpozhing, and would not be available to come to the district court,” said the Judge.

The Judge said that he will only know about ACC’s availability after the 10 day appeal process is over.

He said that further delay in the district court verdict was likely if the litigants appealed to the Supreme Court as the ACC would again have to litigate in the Supreme Court.

The Judge indicated that the verdict on the 71 plots, in all likelihood, would follow the guilty verdict on those who allotted the plots.

“If the plot givers are themselves found guilty, then it would follow through systemic deduction the plots are fruits of a poisonous tree,” said the Judge.

He, however, said that there were various types of plots and the court would have to examine each of them as per the criteria.

He said it may even be a complex procedure as in some cases the plots had been sold several times over, and in some cases even structures had been built on the land. “Those found guilty will have to compensate the buyers,” he said. The Judge said that compensation for built structures would also have too looked at for those who built on such plots after buying them.

The three candidates, though in the danger zone, still have some hope mainly on two grounds. One would be that if the ACC is unable to come before the Mongar District Court, the verdict could be delayed beyond the elections. The second hope is that even if the plots are found to be illegal, they in all likelihood would not get prison sentences, allowing them to argue that though convicted in a criminal case they have not been sentenced.

The Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said that the election laws are very clear. He said in the primary round the candidates need to only prove that they are registered voters, have been nominated by their party, and are graduates.

He said it was only in the final general elections round when the legal and other details of the candidates like NOC and various other clearances were sought. “We will know at that time,” said the CEC.

Tenzing Lamsang / Thimphu

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58 comments

  1. Very interesting development. The ball now seem to be in the ACC’s court and it’s up to them to prove they have the balls to ensure a corrupt free society. Come on Dasho Neten leave everything you are doing and get to Mongar Court. This could prove to be the biggest catch in ACC’s history. Don’t chicken out on us now. Jabchor phu ni la

    • Have you even read the report properly, I have made it very clear that the people who applied for plots cannot be prosecuted as criminals as they did nothing wrong, even the Drangpon himself concedes that they had every right to apply for land at Gyelpozhing. The people who have applied for plots have done nothing wrong, it was the land allotment committee that violated the rules and not he people who applied for plots. Now, please tell me on what basis is the ACC going to prosecute them, for applying for land which even the Drangpon says they had every right to apply for. People like the Drangpon needs to explain himself, they just can’t go around making such idiotic statements.

      • Flabbergasted

        If you buy known stolen property, you are party to the crime.

        If you are the boss who is aware of existing rules and kashos forbidding the illegal sale and acquiring of land, but still apply for a piece of that land, you are actually trying to acquire stolen property.

        So, try to figure out who the bosses were during that time and a proper picture will be formed.

        The people we are talking about are not innocent people without any knowledge of the rules and laws. They were the big bosses who were put in place to oversee that the laws and rules were being followed.

        • If you had not noticed, nobody stole anything.

          • Mani Kumar Thapa

            you moron, when you illegally acquire something that doesn’t belong to you if it’s not stealing what is it?

          • Flabbergasted

            If giving or taking government land illegally is not stealing, I don’t know what is. Maybe you can tell me what stealing actually is.

            But I can understand that, worshipping lords like JYT, you are bound to have your mind screwed by him to the point that you don’t even know what stealing is.

            Everything this paper wrote about is true. Every time the paper writes something about DPT, you are here to refute it. You do try very hard to do that. DPT must give you some sort of compensation if they haven’t already, and I hope it’s worth it as what you are doing is advocating corruption!

  2. Now why is this Judge preempting and making such controversial noises? As a Judge he must very well know that he should not speculate and preempt the verdict before following a due process of law. Need an ordinary citizen like me remind him? The fact that he is coming out and making such statements indicate that he take pleasure in sentencing people, be it any type of case. It also means that he is throwing his personal opinions in the capacity of a Judge. He is showing is political affiliation. 

    I also fail understand ECB’s rules and their scrutiny here. They have barred BKP’s participation but they allowed other two parties who had civil servants. BKP should have registered some dogs in their letter of intent. The Civil Service Act and the BCSR clearly states that civil servants unless they are relieved cannot participate in any election NA or Council, but shockingly the ECB’s scrutiny process does not seem to look at this. Something therefore is wrong here. The CEC and other commissioners must scratch their heads thousand times now, of making such blunder. 

    • Phuntsho it is really too much,too much means too much.why your really support this corrupted leaders,or r u really close relative to this leaders. or u are also corrupted like this leaders.when every one is happy the the verdict why you r very peculiar.if you really in favor of Corrupted JYT. NOW it is very risky for him, even if DPT make up in primary round,but in general round JYT and his corrupted ministers seems to be prosecute in court and dat will naturally make them disqualify to contest in general round

      • Another guy who has understood absolutely nothing or just does not have the common sense to reason out things.

      • Man, you and the likes of you are ever ready to associate somebody to somebody just because people put alternate arguments. I cannot say JYT is corrupted, for that matter I cannot I say, leaders of other political are not corrupted. I hope you do understand, in the past, we lived, quite in a different circumstances. By your definition, however, every bureaucrat then were corrupted. You might be right though, but do you think institutions like ACC can handle all the rotten cases of the past? Or just it suffice, that JYT is prosecuted? I can safely call this paper, a vindictive news and its editor in-chief, a vindictive journalist, for almost always attacking JYT and his government. A good 19 editorials or so, right after this paper was established, it attacked JYT and his government.  It doesn’t matter to me, if JYT gets re-elected or not, but for you, even if some other parties form a government, you will still lament. You will still cry foul. Because that is what you are, at the end of the day. 

    • Looks like this Drangpon has received a lot of praise from various quarters for being brave in coming up with the verdict that he did and that has gone to his head. The result is such silly remarks.

  3. oh why some people are planing to vote for DPT when all ministers are involved in corruption case and their verdict are still waiting in Mongar court.if they r found guilty than it is big lost on country to vote for dpt.so people should think a lot

  4. I think the Mongar Drangpon needs to be sent to law school again, now apart from being the judge, he wants to be the prosecutor too. And, for all purposes, how is applying for land a criminal offense.

    • He cant pas 2 verdicts.

    • well said Good. i have always wanted my self to speak this sort of statements out when one of the judges was corrupt, bossy, and barely the poor farmers could approach him. but i liked him being attacked by the community and only to find him guilty. if judges of this kind take seats, my god, i can barely think of freedom. Please allot more fund in sending judges for learning basic law. 

  5. “The Judge clarified that even though the cases were criminal in nature, they in all probability not involve any imprisonment, as anybody could apply for land, but it was up to the allotment committee that gave the land and thus violating laws. He, however, said that cases and hence the convictions would be criminal in nature.”

    So the allotment committee violated the rules, so for what crime are the people that applied for land going to be charged with, can the Bhutanese please ask the Drangpon to explain.

  6. And, according to the Drangpon, anyone can apply for land and that the Allotment Committee were the one that violated the rules, so if anybody could apply for land, on what basis do you prosecute them.

    • there are type called intention and unintentional ,but mongar court can prosecute JYT and YESHI ZIMBA coz they falls under intention, coz dat time they r ministers and they know very well dat they r not eligible.but they applied and got the land. but in other case like Jekhenpo,other public,aum kuenzang,maid of Speaker are innocent, so they will fall under unintentional

      • Good luck to you then, if any court can find someone guilty of intention, these things don’t happen in real life. 

      • Mani Kumar Thapa

        Well said

      • Although, wat the Judge said on the “intention” is a subjective matter, I feel the argument submitted by you is very much valid. People who framed the law has voilated the laws. So the question of integrity comes into effect to those who voilated the norms knowingly.

      • I see, it must be in your training manual. A judge can therefore subjectively categorized intentional and unintentional. Well then, the court should have acquitted Sonam Tshering for his crime was unintentional. He didn’t even know, the law existed. Likewise many others who breach laws unintentionally should go scot-free. Is that so, Mr. Judge? 

      • Heart core DPT

        how to prove intentional or unintentional? I think one should be lama to decide it!

  7. Sangay Kuenden Dukpa

    This is good news for every Bhutanese citizens…we urge the court and ACC to expidiate their prosecution. So that we don’t choose wrong leaders who totally lacked credibility.

    All the best ACC !!!!

  8. Many of us feel court judgement was unfair and sentence for main convicts have to be more than what they had received. Judge didnot live upto people expectation. Do we still live in former Bhutan?

  9. The land recipients only applied for the land. If it was to be given or not given, the committee should decide based on the prevailing laws. If the committee did not give, recipients would not have acquired. So, where is the act of crime on the land recipients? Perhaps, the Mongar judge is to proud and getting carried away by what he could do with the committee member’s prosecution. If land recipients are at all found to be guilty, then why only PM and Lyonpo YZ? Is it because they are in DPT? How on Earth do we say that DPT members are more lieable to penalty than any others? Are there different laws for DPT membbers and non-DPT members? For that matter, does this paper also have a different treatment for different parties? Come on! let’s analyse, realize and judge conscientiously.

    • Flabbergasted

      No amount of justification will hide the fact that those DPT hotshots during that time tried to acquire land knowing very well that it was illegal. They were not innocent people applying for land. They were the ones in power who were aware of all rules and kashos.

      Any person irrespective of their political affiliation, who was found to have applied for land knowing that it was wrong is NOT INNOCENT at all. They tried to take advantage of the system.

      • If you have guts name all who acquired land knowing it was wrong besides two Lyonpos.

        • Flabbergasted

          Go back in time and read the papers. The names of all the people involved were given.

          Its election time, and its time to inform the people. I don’t care about the others who are minding their own business, but when it comes to people who are planning to rule us for the next 5 years, I want to be careful.

          If you think any of the political candidates from any of the parties are/were involved in corruption, I am all ears.

    • Mani Kumar Thapa

      Read the article carefully, it never says only JYT and Zimba are guilty and liable, all recipients are liable. Only difference is they are contesting in the elections so it might effect them because of the case.

      Your saying they only applied and the committee granted isn’t so straight forward and simple. If it was a simple villager yes but Both were ministers at that time wielding enormous power and authority from Thimphu. How can you say that there was no pressure, influence and manipulation put to the Dzongda and committee. They were the authority and they knew if they were entitled to apply or not.

      Again if simple villager yes but please don’t justify for these two with the same logic. 

  10. I think this paper is trying to jeopardize our democracy ….by trying to say that candidates are criminally changed ….indeed!

  11. Funny but true

  12. TL, have you run out of DPT stories or did you get sucked in to writing this pathetic shit you pass off as journalism.

  13. Mani Kumar Thapa

    As per the law if a thief sells stolen goods in the market, even the buyer is liable to be prosecuted. My friend recently bought a gas cylinder from someone not knowing it was stolen and now he is facing charges for buying it. So in any illegal translation both parties are liable. Thats the law.

  14. How about getting land without application? No penalty.

  15. this should have come long time back… Keep it up!!!! Now what next??? ECB??

  16. Is the Mongar judge now going to prosecute instead of passing judgement? How can he interpret the law for a case which has not come to his court?

  17. why  was Mongar court so late in delivering justice n why were those who bought land especially high ranking  civil servant not made accountable > They knew  it was illegal . The land was only to people of Mongar and also to those who did not have Land or house being built in Mongar town  . so did  the civil servants how bought land not super ceded the laws of the kingdom . When we in the private knew it was illegal ,. how would they not know .  I feel Monagr court was too linent in the punishment . 

  18. Haha, Looks like Monggar Drangpon even wants to criminally prosecute Kharchu and Drametsi Dratsang. It appears he is in league with the bhutanese newspaper. this news does not appear in other papers – why?

  19. Every Dog has a day. He will declare his day!

  20. We appreciate your paper for keeping the people informed of what is happening in the country. We are sure, the corrupt people will think twice to repeat their acts as this paper will expose their corrupt deeds if they fail to discipline themselves. Please keep up your good job, this will greatly help the general public in many ways and keep the government officials in more disciplined manners.

  21. Criminals deserve jail, no questions asked.

  22. Most of the commentators out here are just viewing the things in one directions and take personally every words written and findings of ACC. We dont know the situation then when all these happen. I feel very sorry for each and every one involved in this land case. What ever the right thing and true those time are leveled as corrupt.

    People change, our views change, policy change and every thing change and now this case has victimized those who were called once loyal citizen and civil servant of Drukyul ” The land of Thunder Dragon”.

    May god be with them and get through safely from these public greed and satisfaction they are currently enjoying for things which had happened. Be Brave. You are victim of human greed- they will only keep quite if the lands were allotted to their names.

  23. Long sha rang moderator. 

  24. This is simple to justify why the land receiver of the galposing of highiest profil should be punish. They are the people who at that time knows all the laws and orders of the country and the king. After knowing all this if they have applied for land to benefit thenself then it is a crim. It is also call policy and information curruption. This people are so rich that they have properties and authorities with them where they can play and get themself benifited.

    Can anyone know who ealse are at the top of the government. They are no one other then some of our minister’s relatives.

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