Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officials yesterday submitted their rebuttal against Speaker Jigme Tshultim’s statement of December 20, in which he pled not guilty against the ACC’s charges of deceptive practice, official misconduct, sale of Government land and illegal registration of plots.
They said the Speaker did not have the authority to allot plots, when His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo himself, through a Kasho, expressed his concerns over scarcity of land, and decreed that no one shall allot land, except himself.
In 1987, His Majesty’s Command, conveyed through his Secretary, ACC officials, during the rebuttal at the Mongar court, said, reemphasised the strict order to restrain allotment of commercial plots, until the Government drew up a policy and procedure, and until they were put in place.
“Urban development and housing department and municipal authorities in various Dzongkhags were prohibited from allocating plots in urban areas,” they said.
In 1991, ACC officials said a Kasho was issued to the Home Minister, instructing him to nullify all such allotments, other than those that the King made.
The rest were to be restituted to the state.
In yet another Kasho of 2003, ACC representative said the King had reiterated his concerns of the need to secure land for future generations, and decreed that allotment of land would be his sole authority.
The Communications Ministry, which was also given the responsibility over urban development and housing then, ACC officials said, through a letter in 2001, had informed Dzongkhag officials against allotment of land in the urban areas, quoting His Majesty’s Command of 1987.
Through the same letter, the Speaker, they said, was requested to submit the list of allotments that were made, along with letters of approval.
Another letter in 2002 instructed the Dzongkhag not to register the plots until the Government’s approval was received, and to keep any land allotments in abeyance until the Government approval was conveyed.
“Allotment of land was a concern, and the authority to allot plot was not delegated to anyone,” ACC officials read out at the court. “Despite repeated Kashos and instructions from the authority not to allot land, the defendant went ahead, ignoring all instructions.”
They also said that it was the Speaker’s earnest responsibility to institute proper procedures for allotment of what the King considered a scare state resource to the deserving individuals, following Government approved criteria.
“Contrarily, the defendant, as the then Dzongda, and the Chairman of the Plot Allotment Committee, abused his authority to favour individuals, who he considered important,” ACC representatives said.
Based on its investigation, ACC officials informed, that in 2001, the Plot Allotment Committee conducted a lucky draw for residential plots from a list of 90 applicants.
During the draw, 67 were remarked as not having reported, four remarked as having reserved plots, and 15 were allotted plot numbers.
Similarly, plot allotment, conducted on a lucky draw basis for commercial plots from a list of 43 applicants, showed that 19 had not reported. Only four were allotted a plot each.
Based on their findings, ACC officials also said the defendant had abused his authority to allot plots to some individuals, who did not report for the lucky draw, while a few others were not allotted one.
“The defendant treated similar situations differently,” an ACC representative said. “Fourteen people were allotted bigger plots than the normal size, and some were allotted plots from the Government land, which wasn’t even acquired for the Gyalpoizhing township.”
As a Chairman, ACC representatives said, he also included an additional criteria on May 23, 2001, in the notification that appeared in Kuensel, of eligible applicants being required to attend in person the plot allotment.
“Many failed to comply with this, and plots were allotted nevertheless,” an ACC oficial said.
In response to the Speaker questioning ACC’s taking up the prosecution, despite Office of the Attorney General (OAG) finding no need for legal intervention, ACC officials said constitutional bodies were mandated to guarantee exercise of democratic norms and values and guarantee of public accountability of the Government towards its people.
The Commission, they said, went by the findings of their investigation, and was duty bound to take the case to its logical conclusion.
They also said the Commission had, in accordance with Article 27 Section 5 of the Contitution, and Section 128 (1 and 2) of its Act, referred the case for prosecution.
Besides, they said, the OAG’s reluctance to take up the case notwithstanding, it also publicised the case of confidential nature without consulting ACC.
“This act hampered the credibility of the case,” ACC officials said. “Moreover, OAG had manipulated the case standing, stating there was no legal basis for the case to be pursued further, although the case warranted prosecution.”
Also in this series: Gyalpoizhing Land Scam in Court
- Dechen Singye Defends Gyalpoizhing Plot Allotment
- Gyalpoizhing Land Allotment Committee Members in Mongar Court
- Minjur Dorji in Mongar Court for Gyalpoizhing Land Scam Case
- ACC Rebuts Gyalpoizhing Land Allotment Committee Members
- ACC Rebuts Speaker Jigme Tshultim in Gyalpoizhing Land Scam Case
- Mongar Court Full Steam with Gylapoizhing Land Scam Case
- Minjur Dorji Must Be Held Responsible
- Jigme Tshultim is Accused of Forgery, Deceptive Practices, Sale of Government Land and Illegal Registration of Government Land
- ACC: Minjur Dorji Illegally Gave Land to Kharchu Dratshang and Drametse Dratshang
- Speaker Jigme Tshultim Says Not Guilty
- Speaker Jigme Tshultim Wants TV Broadcast From The Courtroom
- Gyalpoizhing Land Beneficiaries Related to High Ranking Officials
- Minjur Dorji Wrote Minutes of the Meeting in His Own Handwriting
- PM JYT: Speaker and Home Minister Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
- Jigme Tshultim Provided With Heaters in Mongar Court
- Gyalpoizhing Land Scam Case Court Verdict
- Finally A Superman – Er… A Superwoman