ACC charges former land record officer for illegal registration of 8.5 acres govt. land into private thram
The Office of the Attorney General is currently reviewing a case forwarded by the AntiCorruption Commission (ACC) which alleges the former Land Record Officer (LRO) of Thimphu Dzongkhag Administration and one of his clients for illegally registering 8.55 acres of government land into private thram.
The ACC got wind of the case, which happened in early 2000, due to the inconsistency in the former LRO Karma Jamtsho’s legal income and the number
of plots registered in his name. The ACC started the inquiry following a suspicious transfer of 20-decimal land at Wangsisina to Karma Jamtsho’s name by his client Nadik.
The investigation revealed that Karma Jamtsho received the 20-decimal plot as a gift from Nadik for facilitating the registration of two plots viz. excess plot 45/z measuring 4.58 acres and illegal plot 68/y measuring 3.92 acres - in total 8.55 acres in Thram 685 in contravention to the Chapter 4) entitlement of excess land, Guidelines on the New Sathram Compilation (NSC) 2004 and written instruction from Survey General of erstwhile Department of Survey and Land Records.
The ACC’s investigation revealed that a certain Sangay Dorji purchased a plot named ‘Jhazhing Gokha Dang ChhuJuSar’ measuring 5 acres from Lt. Darlup Gyeltshen in early 1990s. Sometime before the NSC survey in 2000, Sangay Dorji fenced huge patch of government land surrounding this land in anticipation to convert and register into his Thram. However, during the NSC field survey, the survey team marked the excess land as illegal plot as 68/Y and plot 45/Z, which together measured 8.55 acres.
Then in 2002, Sanagy Dorji arranged to sell 4.75 acres out of 5 acres (legally owned) to Nadik’s wife with an understanding that Sangay Dorji would retain 25 decimal in his Thram to enable him to process the excess land claim. However, after his failed attempt, the remaining 25-decimal land was sold to Nadik in late 2006.
Nadik then turned to Karma Jamtsho, who was then working as LRO in Thimphu Dzongkhag Administration, to assist him in regularizing the two excess plots, which were otherwise not entertained to Sangay Dorji.
After Sangay Dorji failed to regularize the illegal land, they made an application letter to Department of Survey and Land Records in June 2006 appealing for the excess land and had Sangay Dorji sign on it to make it appear that the latter moved the appeal.
The Department instructed Thimphu Dzongkhag Administration to verify the excess land claim case under Mewang Gewog, which included Sangay Dorji’s case. Without any field verification and despite knowing that the plots were illegal, Karma Jamtsho, in his capacity as a LRO, submitted a field verification report to the Deparment, validating Sangay Dorji’s case as eligible for excess land.
Accordingly, the Survey and Land Records Department registered the 8.55 acres excess land in Nadik’s name. As solicited and in gratification for his assistance, Nadik transferred 20 decimals from the newly registered two plots to Karma Jamtsho, which he registered in the name of his daughter.
The ACC’s investigation found prima facie case of bribery, deceptive practice, official misconduct and illegal encroachment of government land against Karma Jamtsho and Nadik.