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Judiciary: The High Court yesterday ordered the representatives of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit an undertaking on who should bear the responsibility on the conviction or acquittal of the foreign minister and project manager in the Lhakhang Karpo case.

Justify and submit undertakings: HC

Judiciary: The High Court yesterday ordered the representatives of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit an undertaking on who should bear the responsibility on the conviction or acquittal of the foreign minister and project manager in the Lhakhang Karpo case.

The court asked the ACC legal representative to submit an undertaking as to who would bear responsibility if it fails to convict them and what the responsibility would be.

While, the court asked the OAG representatives to also submit an undertaking as to who in the OAG and how it would take responsibility should the court convicts the duo.

This will however be subject to the court’s decision on whether the OAG could handover a case it prosecuted in a lower court to the ACC for prosecution in the appellate court.

Conducting the show-cause hearing on the case of project manager Wangchuk Tshering and two other accused yesterday, the High Court’s Bench II asked OAG and ACC for justifications on why each of the institutions should be allowed to drop or take over the prosecution.

While the Attorney General had earlier said that there were no grounds of appeal against the minister and the project manager, ACC believes otherwise. To avoid perceived conflict of interest and fairness of justice, the OAG let ACC prosecute the appeal cases against the minister and the project manager after the Haa district court’s verdict last month.

This is the first time that the ACC is prosecuting an appeal case after the OAG decided not to prosecute.

This is a beginning of a new trend and the court said that precedence has to be set firmly and correctly to avoid any conflicts in future.

After studying the submissions of the undertakings and their justifications, the court would issue its decision.

After five months of trial, the Haa district court acquitted foreign minister Rinzin Dorje, who was the former Haa dzongdag, dismissing both charges of omission, amounting to abuse of functions and embezzlement of public property. The court asked him to restitute Nu 4,166 to the government for not being able to produce receipt for fuelling the vehicle.

Meanwhile, the OAG would present its appeal petition against the Haa district court’s verdict on the sand supplier and project engineer to the Bench II on August 3.

Tshering Palden

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