In his rebuttal before the court of law, Penjore submitted that both the Office of Attorney General (OAG) and BNB should be held accountable for the wrong doings.
In addition, he also requested Thimphu District Court for a compensation for keeping him under police detention for 16 days. He claims that to be an illegal detention.
The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) submitted its rebuttal to the Court on 20 December 2021, stating that Penjore’s Facebook post was not made in the public interest. Police claimed that Penjore had spread misinformation on the social media about OAG, inciting people to make various negative remarks and comments, and thus making people lose their trust in OAG.
In addition, RBP rebutted that Penjore should post the correct information, if it was indeed posted in the public interest.
Though people have the right to report the corruption, they have to check and balance the facts while exercising the fundamental rights, RBP claimed.
Penjore rebutted that the case was first found out by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) during the audit process, whereby, the case was forwarded to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigation.
After ACC’s investigation, the police received the case and was reported to OAG. Though the police report mentions that BNB officials involved in the illegal act should be held accountable for their official misconduct along with the 12 staff who have submitted the fake documents, OAG alleged wrongdoing by the 12 staff members, but there were no allegations against BNB officials, Penjore added.
Penjore submitted to the Court that the post he shared on his Facebook on 4 May 2021 was made in the public interest, as per section 318 (a) of PCB 2004. He claims that citizens have the right to report on corruption and his Facebook post was not misinformation.
The Court has directed the police to categorically submit their rebuttal on official misconduct and failure to report a crime, as per section 294 and 430 of Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB) 2004 respectively.
The Court also directed RBP to submit their justification on why OAG did not charge sheet BNB’s executive members for the lapses when there is a solid evidence, whereby all the 12 BNBL staff were terminated for forgery.
Penjore was arrested on 6 May and detained for 16 days before the OAG charged him for sedition.