ACC: The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has written to the prime minister, informing him about the Supreme Court’s (SC) order of disallowing a public official to use state resources, while attending a private adjudication matter before the court.

Although commission officials refused to comment further, sources said the ACC wrote to the prime minister on March 6, saying that the foreign minister, Rinzin Dorje, was using his pool vehicle while attending the ongoing legal proceedings at the Haa district court.

An official from the prime minister’s office yesterday said that lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay has asked lyonpo Rinzin Dorje to abide by the SC order.

The SC, being the final authority on its interpretation, issued an order on July 17, 2013, after the Gyalpoizhing land case, stating that, where a public official charged and prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) or ACC in a court of law, the public official must attend the court at his or her own expense.  The order also stated that the public official, who is charged before the court, must be represented by a jabmi of his choosing, and may appear in court only as a witness, or when summoned by the court, at his own expense.

The SC issued the order, after the former speaker and former home minister used state resources while attending court hearings in Mongar. “If the ministers desire to attend court, they must do so at their own expense. The resources of the state cannot be used to attend court in the matter related to adjudication of a case charged in an individual capacity with no correlation to official function,” the order stated.

Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje, who was then the Haa dzongda and chairman of the tender committee, attended three hearings after the OAG filed a case at the district court on January 23.  He was charged for omission amounting to abuse of function in connection with the Lhakhang Karpo corruption case and embezzlement of public property.

He was charged with awarding the contract work illegally to LD Sawmill, without consulting the tender committee, and the payment was made based on Nu 37.70 per cubic foot, which the committee initially rejected.  He was also charged with transporting private timber from Haa to Thimphu through the dzongkhag DCM truck.

Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje will rebut OAG’s submission on March 17.

By Rinzin Wangchuk