In his opening statement to the court yesterday, Speaker Jigme Tshultim said he was not guilty of official misconduct and other charges, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) pressed against him.
The speaker, as the land plot allotment committee chairman then, was accused of forgery and deceptive practice, sale of government land and illegal registration of plots.
Presenting his statement at the Mongar court, he said that, as a representative of the (fourth) King, and serving the Tsa-Wa-Sum (King, country and people) as the Mongar Dzonda then, he did everything in accordance with His Majesty’s Kajaa (royal command), and that he did not violate any law.
He said ACC had questioned him twice regarding the case, and he provided the same response that all land allotments were done in accordance with the King’s Kajaa through Dzongda Chechab (zonal administrator) then.
Every Dzongkhag town land allotment then, he said, was done in accordance with Land Act and King’s Kajaa in 1991 through Dzongda Chechab that granted Dzongdas the authority to take initiative for allotment of land in their respective districts.
“It’s not against any law of the country,” he said, adding there was no reason for ACC to suspend those involved in plot allotment, when it pertained to a different time.
“It was during the time of monarchy and there was no questions or disagreement from the King,” he said, adding it all happened 13 years ago, and retrospective probe and application of law was not good for the future.
“There was no ACC Act then,” he said.
He said it would demoralise civil servants from taking decisions in their works for public benefit.
He also said landowners, who owned plots then, were paid in accordance with the rules of the time.
The speaker questioned ACC’s authority, which, despite Office of the Attorney General finding no legal basis for the case to route through the court, decided to do so on its own.
He said this case should have been dealt with by the Land Commission before it went to court. “If land commission is unable to solve the problem, then the case should be forwarded to the court,” he said.
The speaker also said that, during his time as Dzongda of Mongar, there were no proper buildings and structures in all commercial areas of Mongar. To hasten development, he said, he allotted land, not just in Gyalpoizhing, but that, as a representative of the King, thinking it would benefit the people in rural communities, he also allotted land in Kilikhar, Dremetse, Yadi, Lingmithang, Singor and Mongar town.
He said around 200 plots were allotted then, because of which people were benefiting today.
The home minister, who also chaired the plot allotment committee between 2005 and 2006 as Mongar Dzongda, was also charged with sale of government land, illegal registration of plots and official misconduct.
His opening statement to the court is scheduled for December 31.