Gyalpoizhing land scam under scanner yet again

Gyalpoizhing land scam, one of the major cases being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), saw a huge discussion at the National Assembly yesterday.

The Member of Parliament from Dramedtse-Ngatshang Constituency, Ugyen Wangdi, said the officials, alleged in corrupt practices are unable to discharge their duties while their cases are under investigation.

“The Speaker is not able to attend this session, because ACC is currently investigating the Gyalpoizhing land case. But the case took place before he was elected as the Speaker,” said MP Ugyen Wangdi. Tshogpon Jigme Tshultim was the Monggar Dzongda at that time.

Kabji-Talo MP, Tshering Penjore, said the Speaker at that time was following the circular issued by the Ministry of Works and Settlement. “What I heard is that the current controversy of the Gyalpoizhing land case was politically motivated by the Sombaykha MP. This has been done to create disharmony.”

The Opposition Leader, Tshering Tobgay said, he did not know anything about the Gyalpoizhing land case until it was published in one of the papers. He said if he knew about it, as an MP and a citizen, he would have reported it to ACC and not to media.

 “The Kabji–Talo MP said the Gyalpoizhing land case was instigated by me to create disharmony in the Country. I would like to request the Speaker to ask him to justify his statement. Otherwise because of the majority of the ruling party, it undermines our responsibility as Opposition,” said the Opposition Leader.

The Deputy Speaker, Yangkhu Tshering Sherpa, said the members should speak on general inconveniences and not on any particular corruption case.

“There are a few members who occasionally pass personal comments. I have never retorted back, as it is the responsibility of the speaker to maintain the decorum in the House,” said the Opposition Leader, adding that the members of the parliament should deliberate on the issues of the national interest.

The Opposition Leader said that even though the Gyalpoizhing land scam is an old case, if the laws have been violated, the issue needs to be thoroughly examined. He also said the investigation of Gyalpoizhing land case should be completed at the earliest.

Cases with ACC

There were 25 cases that are still under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission, as of March, 2012.  Gyalpoizhing land case, bribery and fraud case in the health procurement, bribery and excess payment in the construction works, are some of the major cases which are under investigations.

According to the ACC’s annual report 2011, the most common corruption practices are in the areas of properties, land, personnel management, construction, and procurement services.  The highest complaints, with 114, are in misuse of resources, followed by land with 76 complaints.

The report also mentions that there are five cases which are still under the review of the Office of the Attorney General. They are bribery cases of health ministry involving ten individuals, Construction Development Corporation Limited’s case involving six individuals and illegal mining case of M/s SD Eastern Bhutan Coal Company Ltd.

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