Trongsa awaits directives on convicted gup

Gup was convicted for bribing in 2009

LG: Trongsa dzongkhag officials are waiting for directives from higher authorities on what further actions should be taken against Langthel gup, Lham Dorji who was convicted to six months imprisonment.

The gup was convicted for bribing former dzongkhag engineer, Tashi Penjor and the proprietor of Chasikhar construction, Thinley Jamtsho in Shatong Goenpa construction in Dagana case.

Last month the Dagana district court convicted Lham Dorji for bribing Thinley Jamtsho with Nu 50,000 and Tashi Penjor Nu 30,000 to deceitfully manipulate the bidding of Shatong Goenpa construction to TNCL, a construction company he represented and owned by his brother.

The dzongkhag administration however has been unable to take any actions against Lham Dorji although the Supreme Court recently notified that elected leaders must vacate the office upon conviction as pronounced in the Constitution.

“A person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member holding an elective office under the Constitution, if the person is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment,” states the Constitution.

The Election Act of Bhutan 2008 also disqualifies an elected member holding an elective office if the individual has been convicted for criminal offence leading to imprisonment.

But without specific directives from the home and cultural affairs ministry or local government department (DLG), the dzongkhag has been unable to initiate any actions against the gup. The dzongkhag has received neither directives nor a copy of judgment yet. “I haven’t received the verdict yet,” Trongsa dzongdag, Sonam Rinchen said, adding that he won’t be able to say anything before seeing the verdict first.

The dzongdag said the guardian of local government (LG) is DLG.

“We have to wait for directives from the DLG on what actions must be meted out against the gup,” Sonam Rinchen said. “It is not clear whether the conviction entails administrative action or termination of the gup’s services.”

The Dzongkhag tshogdu chairperson, Tashi Pendhen is also waiting for directives from the DLG and home ministry. The chairperson clarified that LG has no authority to terminate any of its elected leaders. “If the nature of conviction weighs termination of the gup’s services, the decision has to come from the DLG or home ministry,” Tashi Pendhen said.

Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang

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