Political parties welcome verdict but raise questions on OAG

Political Parties across the board have welcomed the Gyelpozhing verdict of the Mongar Dzongkhag court which has held the Speaker, Home Minister and the 14 plot allotment committee members as being guilty. They have also questioned the OAG’s original assessment of there being no case.

Political parties say they trust the judiciary

While Social media users opined that the verdict was not up to the mark citing the old case of a monk who was charged with fourth degree felony and convicted for illegal possession of tobacco political party representatives said they trust and respect the decision of the judiciary.

President of Bhutan Kuen-Ngyam Party (BKP) Sonam Tobgay said “We trust the judiciary and I assume they must have passed the verdict accordingly ensuring professionalism and justice.”

He also said “being able to take two high profile personalities to court has exhibited confidence in the rule of law. We congratulate ACC and also thank the DPT for their cooperation.”

Asked for his opinion on doubts over the two ministers’s political candidature for 2013, Sonam Tobgay said it is the mandate of ECB “but as a political party we will keep a close watch ensuring all electoral laws are adhered strictly.”

Spokesperson of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) Dr Tandi Dorji said “we have full trust and confidence in our justice system and that they will make the right decisions. We have the constitution and laws in place so we respect every decision made by the court of law.”

“If there are any corruption charges against any of our members, we will fully abide by rules and laws of the country,” he added.

Vice president and spokesperson of the opposition, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MP Damcho Dorji said, “we respect the verdict of the Honorable Mongar Dzongkhag Court. We also appreciate the expeditious way in which the case was adjudicated.”

“It is not important whether the penalty is reasonable or not. What is more important is that the due process of law has taken its course and come to its logical conclusion. If the ACC or the defendants are not satisfied with the verdict of the Court they have right to recourse to appeals as per the law. They are equally entitled to the protection of the law. So let the appellate Courts decide whether the verdict is reasonable or not,” Mp Damcho Dorji said.

 

On OAG

The OAG, in its ‘opinion’ controversially found no legal basis to pursue the Gyelpozhing case in court, in September 2012.

The OAG had stated that beneficiaries of the plots are not guilty of any crime, having been allotted plots by a legally constituted government authority.

In its recommendations, the OAG advised that the government take appropriate administrative actions against members of the committee as deemed necessary.

The OAG also defended the Speaker and the Home Minister against ACC’s suspension order issued to the two.

When asked for his comments on the Mongar court verdict, Attorney General Phuntsho Wangdi said he hasn’t read the judgment yet. He was not available for comments by later when the judgment was made available in the media.

A few politicians that The Bhutanese talked to said OAG as a democratic institution should not have interfered in the case which involved individuals and not the government. They also said the government must not undermine the roles of democratic institutions.

DNT’s Dr Tandi Dorji said “the OAG made a blunder as they said there was no case and the OAG or the government also needs to understand where the roles of a democratic institution begins and where it ends. The government should not undermine the role of OAG for personal gains or just because two of their MPs are involved in the case.”

Asked if the Attorney General should resign, he said “the attorney general is a responsible person and he should make his decision on his own.”

“It’s high time that we take responsibility and be accountable for all our own actions. In this particular case, we don’t know who will hold the Attorney General accountable,” Dr Tandi Dorji said.

The Opposition Party expressed obvious doubts over the OAG’s decisions. MP Damcho Dorji said “the OAG is directly under the government and answerable directly to Lyonchhen. So anything that is done by the OAG is presumed and deemed to have been directed and instructed by the PM or the Cabinet. Therefore, the government should be held accountable for directing the OAG to give a clean chit to the case if we are to hold the OAG accountable.”

BKP’s Sonam Tobgay said “this is something the OAG as an institution should reflect seriously upon. OAG is one of the strong constitutional bodies and must be developed worthy towards laying strong foundation of democracy.”

However, the Speakers supporters and party members in his constituency are not happy with the verdict.

Lobzang Tashi, 46, of Rajkhar said: “I just wonder if such charges are proven and true, why were they given a clean chit before? The issue of land is almost decades old. It is a game being played so that he cannot contest.” He also said, “no one will drop support for him today even after the verdict and the Mongar court should revisit their verdict.”

About Minjur Dorji

11 comments

  1. Get No Happiness

    OAG is just a pussycat of DPT.

  2. singye wangchuk

    Its good that political parties are concerned with the status with the OAG! are political parties planning to make OAG fully independent organization like other constitutional bodies?? I think such should be move by the new government so that the OAG is no way influenced by any institution or government!

  3. Looking at lobzang Tashi’s continuing support to the declared terrorist of Mongar – Jigme Tsheltrim, he too seemed to have been favoured by the later one way or the other. But ACC should better start studying Jigme Tshultirm’s terror acts and the benefits derived during his 5yrs of ministership with DPT govt. It is without doubt that he must have probably doubled his properties within this 5 yr term. He already had properties (before being minister) which a government official in any post can no way accumulate in whole life of his tenure….without having resorted to illegal means….Most of these properties were surely accumulated around the country during his tenure as Dzongda of different places…..SO Friends, Bhutanese & my countrymen…better beware to safegaurd your properties from people like Jigme Tshultrim…who are many in the existing high level posts and also in the  pipe line aspiring to contest for the upcoming election. Better choose the right people to take GNH to the max….else like Jigme Tshultrim they will be all the time after INH (Individual National Happiness) & not GNH..

  4. Damcho was once Attorney General and he knows the mandate of the OAG. Even if he was AG and if the same case came to him, he would have done the same thing what OAG did to Gyelposhing case. Just because he is on a different chair makes all the noises.

    • Will AG eat stool if Pm orders him, Will Ag kill his parents if PM orders,Will AG jump in river if PM orders, Who is PM he is a leader of servants to serve people of this country. If he works with equity and Justice we people will provide him with all faciliies but if he goes wrong we will thrash him. If I were AG i would have dealt according to the rule of Law, If you are clean why shoul you be Guilty.

    • Dear Laksam, frankly I knew this was coming when the OAG Act was passed in 2006. I made several attempts to make the OAG a constitutional postholder  even  before 2008. One of the reasons I resigned as OAG  was because of this fact.Even when the constitution was discussed in Parliament I strongly proposed for an independant OAG but to no avail. Thats why I have never blamed the OAG for any of its acts because as former AG I know how  things are run. I have always held the Govnt accountable for udermining this important institute. I dont want to tell how I would have acted if I was still the AG. People who have worked with me know very how I would have acted. But fr now I would like to say that OAG is simply doing the job to the best of his ability within the very limited space we have accorded fir an institution that is so iimportant.

      • Hon’ble Dasho, Yes you are right and it was a good attempt. People are not realizing the importance of having full independent OAG… As you are PDP candidate and if you happen to be the rulling government next term…Will you amend the constitution and the OAG act la?? and grant full independence???

  5. Sangay Kuenden Drukpa

    The new government coming to power must look into ways to remove the AG. The OAG not only sent back the Gyelposhing case to ACC, it also circulated the ACC’s investigation report to public. This was done to give the defendants some teeth to fight back the case. The AG must take moral responsibility and resign from the post. If i were in his shoe, I cannot face the public.

    Resign from the post and go as caretaker of PM below RTC…..or else look after PM’s house.

  6. http://oag.gov.bt … “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” that what it is written…

    Reality of OAG….. It is better that all the guilty person escape and all the innocent suffer…

    ha ha ha….

  7. As Dasho Damcho clarified, the AG did his work within his capacity. He said take some administrative action as the degree of mistake in land allotment case was not very severe. The court also proved it as misdemeanour and not felony. So why should OAG or AG be penalized?

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