The Office of the Attorney General on June 19 charged 11 individuals in court for alleged fraudulent registration and encroachment of 1.37 acres of government land in Tshalumaphey, Thimphu about 17 years ago.
The OAG took more than a year to review the investigation reports that Anti-Corruption Commission had handed over to them.
Among the accused are two former Chang gups, the former survey and land record assistant director, and eight villagers of Babesa, Thimphu. They are charged for forgery, encroachment onto government land, bribery, and for breach of duty to report.
Namgay, the son-in-law of former gup Kencho, is charged for two counts of forgery, encroachment of government land, and bribery. Former gup Kencho is charged for three counts of forgery.
Namgay, with the former gup Kencho, had allegedly conspired to illegally transfer late Ani Norzom’s 49-decimal land from Talakha to Tshalumaphey village, Babesa in November 1998. They had drawn a fake agreement citing it was the verbal will of the deceased to Kencho’s wife, a relative of the deceased and another cousin.
Namgay, who was from Talakha, is alleged to have fraudulently processed the transaction documents and misrepresented himself in the court as a nephew and legal heir of Ani Norzom.
Namgay had agreed to appropriate 10-decimal land to Dechen Youden, wife of erstwhile department of survey and land record’s assistant director, Tshewang Gyeltshen.
Former gup Naku is charged for presenting false documents to the court mis-presenting the transferees either as relatives of the deceased or for their census records to show that they were from Chang gewog. He is charged for three counts of forgery.
The land was apportioned among themselves – 10 decimals to Namgay, 10 decimals to Tshewang Gyeltshen, 20 decimals to former gup Kencho, and the remaining nine decimals to a private individual with whom Namgay and Kencho had already made a sale deal.
OAG alleged that not only did they fraudulently transfer the land of the late Ani Norzom, but also they illegally surveyed the land at a different location on vacant government land and significantly inflated the plot acreage during the survey on November 20, 2000.
OAG charges stated that the accused measured land at Tshalumaphey in Babesa when the actual land owned by late Ani Norzom was in Talakha. In the field, former gup Naku and Namgay arranged for a signed clearance from the local community falsely validating that the deceased’s land in Khimjab was at Soridrag.
The eight individuals who falsely certified that the plot at Khimjab was at Soridrag were also charged for validating in writing, Namgay’s false claim and for defrauding the government into surveying his 10-decimal plot at Soridrag.
During the survey, Namgay’s 10-decimal plot was measured as 82 decimals from which Naku received 13 decimals as gratification. Similarly, Tshewang Gyeltshen’s 10-decimal plot was surveyed as 26 decimals. For the excess land, payment of Nu 0.627 million including tax was paid to the government.
Between 2001 and 2003, the whole plot was subsequently transferred to different individuals out of which 13 decimals were allegedly transferred to former gup Naku.
Tshewang Gyeltshen’s 26-decimal plot, including 16 decimals of excess land, was sold under the joint ownership of Naku’s son and daughter. Their internal agreement on August 25, 2006 stated that the total cost of land was Nu 0.9 million.
The former land official is charged for accepting bribe. His wife Dechen Youden is charged for forgery because she had signed on a fake internal agreement on land transfer and encroachment on government land.
Chencho, who was Namgay’s witness while signing the internal agreement of land transfer, is charged for forgery.
Gyaltshen had signed the affidavit stating that late Ani Norzom’s was in Tshalumaphey instead of Talakha. This affidavit was used as supporting document to survey the land for Namgay.
Baap Kunga, Gyaltshen, Tandin Sithup, Namgay and Bidha are charged for forgery where they signed on fake affidavits testifying that the land was in Tshalumaphey while it was in Talakha.
OAG attorney said that the land should be restituted to the government and forfeit the payment for excess land with fines.