Friday, September 4, 2015

A Shocker for Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje from High Court.

Today the 4th September,2015 Kuensel issue carries the details of verdict on Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje court case. He has been convicted of misuse of public property. It was one of the two criminal charges that former Attorney General filed against then the Foreign Minister for irregularities committed as Haa Dzongda.

The new Attorney General had not wanted to appeal the Haa Trial Court verdict that vindicated the Minister. But ACC outgoing Chief Dasho Neten refused to budge and called for ACC right to appeal and prosecute the case.

The High Court denied ACC the right to appeal or prosecute but indirectly called upon OAG to appeal. The Attorney General dropped the graver charge of Tender manipulation and appealed the less significant case of recovery of vehicle hire charges. To pre-empt criminal conviction, the OAG asked the Court to drop the charge of misuse of public property and instead institute the charge of administrative sanction.

The High Court Bench I which denied the ACC to prosecute this very case also refused to be bonded by the desires of the Attorney General in the conduct of the judicial process of the case in the Court. The charge of misuse of public property was retained and the defendant is now convicted on this account.

Now Lyonpo Rinzin Dorji is in a situation that one calls from frying pan into fire and it all happened because of attempting to white wash a black object in the open with raw lime and Oophs ! It rained cats and dogs ! He could lose his constituency seat.

Sorry Lyonpo. I felt the loss of cabinet post was an adequate penalty especially when one sees the kind of loose nets in Bhutan's political and social corruption cases. But really you should have been more realistic at the Trial Court. Could have volunteered to pay the full 10 trip hire charges and explained your this and the other tender lapse on political and social circumstances that prevailed in that period of time. There were justifiable reasons. A less ACC humiliating verdict could have prevented the appeal and saved the cabinet post.

The verdict of the Trial Court smacked of a Judge under duress producing a stressful outcome. The hon'ble Judge had declared his self interest of a spiritual brothership with the defendant but the Supreme Court refused to free him from adjudicating the case. There were genuine logistical problems for the Judiciary.  My comment on the Trial Court verdict, at that time, was that, " I had not expected such a white wash ". A more curative verdict could have prevented the outburst of ACC Chief who felt that it was an insult not a judicial verdict.

Now the ball is in the Speaker's Court. Only Parliament can delist convicted MP. After that Election Commission can hold reelection. But before that the defendant can appeal to the Supreme Court. I hope the defence lawyer again would not resort to that hopeless ground of emergency excuse.  What kind of emergency situation is ferrying ten truck loads of personal goods using government trucks on ten different occasions ? And what kind of monumental flops are taught in some law schools or do pass outs expect spiritual brothers in every Court to understand brotherly emergency !

If there is some constitutional ground to hold on to the constituency's seat, then forget appeal and accept the verdict with all humility.  But if MP status is at stake then  its better to appeal but make appeal on more substantial ground to repeal the criminal  conviction on the vehicle misuse. And if acceptable to High Court pay the hire charges and the penalties thereof before the appeal to Supreme Court on the one year sentence. There may be a window of reprieve. There could be another reasonable way of looking at a Dzongda's need to use the Pool vehicle  instead of hiring other transport. But that view must be shown by the defence lawyer. Good Luck to the Defendant.

Whilst in Haa do not fear Ap Chundu. But Beware of Miri Phuensum the sacred title that Haaps have for the Triple Gem.


  1. People get life imprisonment for robbing lhakhangs and chorten. Our ex MP Rinzin Dorji robbed much more than just robbing simple nangten. He robbed millions of ngultrum. Much of the people money has been wasted and lost because of the deliberate corrupt practice by ex Dzongda.
    What can justify direct selection of a contractor? Some senior officials got long time imprisonment for the Tender decision lapses. Ex Dzongda has deliberately bypassed tender process and directly awarded to the contractor of his choice. That led to all this mess. I think Ap Chundu is watching and acting upon this. It is best for Ex Dzongda to accept with humility. His guilt conscience will not let him live or die peacefully.
    The Haa Dzongda should be immediately sacked for not standing upto the position of the Judge. He has been trying to white wash the dirt his Dorji Puen has done. Once you are in the court, you are judge. You are not someone's dorji puen. He failed to perform his duty.
    AAG is still trying to put aside this case. AAG doesn't perform their duty as mandated by the constitution. It is a shame. That is why AAG should be autonomous as much as ACC. They should not be appointed by any political party.

  2. Both the ACC and Judiciary is playing drama to eyewash the public only.

  3. To use government vehicle for transporting timber 10 times was no emergency was plain enough that there was no need of a judge to prescribe a verdict... and that too, as if the people of Bhutan are all nuts that we are not able to discern between emergency and willful misuse of authority and public facility for personal gain.