Thinley Namgay   

Submitting his rebuttal in the ongoing defamation case between Penjore and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on December 27, the defendant Penjore submitted that both the OAG and the Bhutan National Bank Limited (BNBL) should be held accountable. He also demanded compensation for his 16-day detention by the police following alleged arbitrary arrest.

The defendant again claimed that his Facebook post on May 4 was intended for the public. He reiterated that the Facebook post was based on a BBS news story broadcast on May 4, 2021, in which it was reported that 12 staff members were recruited at BNBL using fake documents. The staff members in question were forced to resign and pay one-year thrimthue.

Penjore said that this case was found out by the Royal Audit Authority during auditing. After that, the case was forwarded to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the ACC conducted an investigation. After the ACC’s investigation, the case was received by the police and reported to the OAG.

“In the police report, it was mentioned that the 12 staff members who submitted fake documents should be punished. It was also cited that BNBL’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and officials involved in this illegal act had to be held accountable for their official misconduct,” Penjore said.

However, Penjore said the OAG alleged wrongdoing by the 12 staff members, but there were no allegations against BNBL’s CEO and other officials of the bank.

Penjore said that citizens have the right to report on corruption, and his Facebook post was not misinformation. He said he posted on Facebook so that other banks and the OAG would not make similar mistakes in the future.

On May 6, police arrested and detained Penjore for 16 days before the OAG charged him for sedition. The dzongkhag court dismissed the OAG’s sedition case against Penjore on June 18.

In the first hearing on November 23, police charged Penjore for accusing the OAG of not charging the BNBL officials in question, despite their official misconduct during staff recruitment.

Police also charged Penjore for spreading misinformation.