ACC charges all 10 accused on Trongsa land case

The Anti-Corruption Commision (ACC) has requested the Trongsa dzongkhag court to restitute the 4.70 acres of land under Nubi geowg, where the wife of former dzongdag Lhab Dorji has constructed a resort.

The ACC has frozen the land since April 3, 2015.

The commission also requested the court to declare null and void, the land transaction between the landowner Gyelmo and the wife of former dzongdag.

The commission submitted this to the court during an evidence hearing on April 13 and 16.

The ACC has charged Lhab Dorji on four counts of forgery, three counts of official misconduct and execution of document by deception. Lhab Dorji is accused of submitting a false application to avail land replacement for the construction of Taktse College in December 2005.

One of the surveyors then, Narayan Dangal was also accused of aiding and abetting the dzongdag and official misconduct. Another surveyor Kelzang Nima is charged for abuse of function and is accused of “knowingly surveying 1.93 acres of land and falsely recording it as Genuine Y plot despite knowing that the original lag thram did not qualify for genuine Y.” Former gewog tshogpas Kinleyla, Wangchula and Tashi Penden are also accused of endorsing the plot as Genuine Y.

The former dzongdag’s wife is also accused of four counts of forgery, solicitation and offence related to witness.

The ACC has charged former Drakteng gup Tenzin for forging the thumbprint of the land seller and the witness. He is charged with five different forgery cases related to the sale deed and also accused of deceptive practice.

The ACC’s submission to court stated that in 2005, Karma Tshetim Dolma, the former dzongdag’s wife, in collusion with Gup Tenzin fabricated a sale deed purporting to have bought three plots measuring 2.03 acres from Yangchen, without the latter’s knowledge. In a similar way, she is also accused of fabricating another sale deed in collusion with the gup from another person. Former Nubi Gup Phuntsho is also accused of two counts of forgery.

The defendants are given a month’s time to submit their rebuttal.

The ACC investigated the case in 2015 and forwarded it to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The OAG stated that there was no legal basis to prosecute the case. ACC then prosecuted the case as per Section 128.3 of the ACC Act that gives ACC the authority to prosecute cases. The section states that the commission may carry out its own prosecution of a person charged with an offence under the Act or take over the prosecution process from the OAG when the case is delayed without a valid reason, manipulated, or hampered by interference.

The former Trongsa dzongdag, former drangpon and eight other individuals are accused of illegally acquiring 4.73 acres of land at Thumgang or ‘View Point’ in Trongsa. It also involves the illegal acquisition of another 2.18 acres of land in Drakteng gewog in Trongsa.

The accusation was that the former Trongsa dzongdag, in the name of acquiring land at government rates of Nu 200 per decimal for the Institute of Languages and Cultural Studies (ILCS), facilitated his wife to buy land at the same government rate from private landowners.

Tshering Dorji | Trongsa

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