What is happening? 

 This is the question everybody is asking given the recent turn of events in the country.  We have three prominent officials, a decorated officer of the Royal Body Guards, a drangpon and the senior most justice detained without bail on charges of conspiracy.  Even as their trial proceedings are about to begin, a Member of Parliament is under police custody.

The detailed charges are now in the public domain.  Even before that, the cause célèbre had caught the eyes of the international media that picked up, others were quick to link it to the “happiness” brand we are known for.  Bhutan is of interest to the international media because of our uniqueness. 

This is a case involving prominent officials.  But it has not brought the country into a crisis.  At home there is shock.  But there is also appreciation for the presence of the rule of law.

The proceedings of the case and the final verdict will tell us what actually transpired.  The prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General, has “prayed’ for stringent punishment.  If they are guilty of the charges, they will pay the price for their crime.  The rule of law must prevail. 

As law-abiding citizens, it is beyond the comprehension of many that such charges could be levelled in a country like ours.  Beyond our borders, there is interest in us because we are known to be a peaceful and a happy country.  Unlike many who think or portray, we are not threatened or in a state of anarchy.  What is clear is that there are checks and balances and systems in place to fix accountability.  And the on-going case proves that there is a wrong perception that people in power or authority can escape retribution if they have transgressed. 

What is happening, to answer curious observers, is that there are loopholes that, if not plugged, could expose us to manipulation or deceit.  

At the centre of the current “high profile” case is a woman, who duped senior most officials into believing her linkage to authorities.  What is also happening, perhaps, is that we are susceptible to people who name or link themselves to important people or institutions to get things done their way.

This is a serious problem.

Dropping names has become the norm.  If that is a problem, the bigger problem is that we do not verify such claims even if there are means to do it.