The Gyelpozhing Verdict

The conviction of the Speaker and Home Minister along with 14 other plot allotment committee members in the Gyelpozhing land case has generated a lot of public interest and reaction.

The verdict in its entirety does credit not only to the Anti Corruption Commission but also to the institution of the Judiciary.

However, at the same time questions must be asked of the Office of the Attorney General which had famously declared that ‘there is no case’ when they were given the case by the ACC. The OAG had even gone to the extent of preventing ACC from prosecuting the Gyelpozhing case at all.

The fact that the Mongar District Court not only accepted the case but also convicted the accused shows the OAG in very poor light.

The office of the OAG, today more than ever, has lost every modicum of public faith, credibility, and respect.

The OAG should serve as an example to all public agencies and officials on the results of compromising ones organizational ethics in the face of political power.

The ACC and its Chairperson Dasho Neten Zangmo must be commended and appreciated in carrying out a tough task in an efficient and responsible manner without any fear or favor. It is even more commendable since the ACC is made up of civil servants.

The Mongar District Court Judge and the Judiciary as an institution must also be appreciated for giving a verdict which upholds ACC’s investigation and evidences. Though there will always be some debate on the length of the sentence, the current verdict coming after the Tax verdict has once again established the Judiciary as an important institution that will protect and uphold the rule of law and democratic values.

The Media especially the national paper and the national broadcaster must also be appreciated for constantly updating the Bhutanese public on the court proceedings and developments in the case.

However, now the most important responsibility lies with the Bhutanese public and also various other public agencies. It will be important to ensure that honest and upstanding public servants like Dasho Neten Zangmo and the Mongar Judge and their respective organizations are given all the support possible. The fate of these individuals and their institutions should be a matter of utmost public interest especially in a democratic setting.

The failure to support and encourage such individuals and their organizations will only lead to a weaker and poorer democracy, and we will have nobody else to blame but ourselves.

For those who have been convicted this may be an emotionally turbulent period, but they should also look at the larger national and systemic interest. They may personally suffer today but in the future the same clean and transparent system will protect the interests of their children when they are out of power. A strong and clean system, more importantly, will strengthen the nation and its people.

For some time there has been some baseless speculation of Gyelpozhing being a political plot or conspiracy.

The truth, however, is much simpler and much less devious. When a large number of people in Gyelpozhing or anywhere else feel they have not received justice the issue, sooner or later, is bound to hit the national headlines especially in a democratic setting as it has done in many other cases.

The Gyelpozhing case by itself should serve as a reminder to all officials high and low to follow the rules and laws strictly in carrying out their duties or suffer the consequences of not doing so.

In some ways it is still early days for the case as the case might be appealed to the High Court and then the Supreme Court.

In the meantime the electoral eligibility of both the Speaker and Home Minister is in doubt since they have been criminally charged and convicted.

Though the Speaker and the Home Minister have been held legally and morally accountable there are others also who cannot escape moral accountability.

Those individuals who held high official positions in the government at the time and where well aware of the laws are also morally accountable for accepting illegal plots either directly or through family members. These include both serving and retired ministers, bureaucrats and Judges all of whom should have known the laws and system well enough to know that all was not well with the plots they accepted.

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17 comments

  1. Well said editor. Credit also goes  to you, your sraff and the paper too for helping to build our future intelligent society by brining this case to the citizens. Great Job on your part!
    Congratulations.
    Citizen 

  2. haha..no doubt this paper will of course praise judiciary and ACC!!!!! What is so funny about this case is, many people from judiciary including chief justice family members bought the plot but these people are clean and just have to return??? 

  3. GIVE NO HAPINESS GET NO HAPPINESS

    Sentence should be for two crimes first for violating n disrespecting HMs kasho n second for illegal allotment of land to vips.  

    Les Majesty charges should be imposed on this people also for DPT cabinet for trying to take the power of land kidu from HM las time. Shame

  4. If u must dig the past, there will always be the fresh smell underneath. So, this outcome of Gyelposhing case is only a tip of ice-burgh to unearth even more sinful crimes committed including land and mine quarry grab by the all powerful Bay Nagpheys of predemocratic Bhutan. You must be knowing whom I’ m hinting at. If the paper such as The Bhutanese is brave enough and willing to report without fear or reprisal, then you can really bring to the limelight many of such dreadful past acts and justice be meted out. We really need to clean our corrupt system……can’t tolerate anymore!…..

  5. I do not find a point in naming Dasho Neten zangmo particularly. She is supposed to fall under ACC n pulling her name separate makes us think whether ACC is of two parts- 1.Neten zam and 2.the ACC staffs.

  6. it sounds like the editor, Aum Neten and the monger judge were the threesome…. 🙂 i found funny when the paper calls for support for Aum neten and Judge as if there are evils awaiting for them…. I still believe Bhutan is not yet India……!!!!

  7. Once Gyalposihing is completed, ACC must take up Denchi corruption case & also Twowa case. Only then common people will belive equity & justice

    • why not phobjikha case, Awp case,Ministry of health case, all the low income peoples are behind bar and people like maj pem tshering who helped some high level peoples in giving AWP land near AWP office P/ling are enjoying freely in the town

      • Really, we need to dig up all the cases, that way, maybe it will at least solve some of our employment woes as the ACC will have to hire thousands more people and the judiciary too. Haha, as of now, Phobjikha verdict still not out, yet this paper is not even making any noise about it.

  8. Do not worry, we will dig everything one by one.!

  9. Always remember that-“Nothing that is not based on law will last long”.

  10. Great work. Now if you really are serious about really cleaning up, how about digging up some more culprits. Why only 1 party? I support the Bhutanese but sometimes it’s funny when I see only one group being needled. It might be easy to guess that a lot of people have skeletons in their cupboards-some real huge. Bhutan is a small society. Once you start with something like this a Tsunami might be inevitable or be ready for backlash. What can I say, we are all little men(in thinking) with gigantic egos. Good luck!

  11. Great job This paper and it’s staff certainly deserve to be commended. Yes if you are a committee member and have signed you have to be held ACCOUNTABLE. 

    However, this brings to mind the MoH case where 4 doctors were charged for corruption by OAG. There the Committee and it’s members approving the trip abroad didn’t feature anywhere. The very fact the tour was discussed in the committee meeting and approved says that the supplier and the ministry officials were working together.

    Please investigate the MoH corruption case also. You will be guaranteed an interesting story.

    • The problem with the ACC and this paper is that they are not consistent, in the Gyelposhing case, all the committee members were charged, but in the MOH case, that is not the case it seems.

  12. Thanks for bringing disharmony!

  13. 1. As someone has pointed out- Dechen Singye and Tshogpen’s case should be non-bailable or without an option for thrimthue. They have forged, cheated and tampered the documents thereby Dechen Singye able to get land in the name of his sister which he later sold and Tshogpen registering land in his maid’s name and sons’ names. This has been proven by the court and now they should be in the jail for violation of NA-1 of Thrimzhung Chemo as was applied to people from MOE, Gelephu court, Samtse mining case, AWP, Thimphu City Corporation.
    2. There is no forgery and tampering of documents by Home Minister, we agree with the verdict of the court that his could be with an option for thrimthue. 3. We do not agree the penalty given to the innocent committee members. These people have not forged the documents, not benefitted personally like Dechen Singye. I think, at the most these people could be heavily warned only instead of penalising same as Dechen Singye. Dechen Singye as a member Secretary has messed up the project for his selfish motive which he achieved through forgery and tampering of documents as reflected in the court verdict.

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