Illegal, immoral, dangerous

Three months ago, some PDP members in Paro received a letter. The letter was signed jointly by the DPT MPs from Paro: Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and Dasho Chencho Dorji. The letter, which apparently targeted businessmen, asked the recipients for financial support to run the DPT office in Paro.

Article 15.4(d) of the Constitution declares that political parties can only accept money or assistance made by its registered members. And, Section 146(c) of the Election Act states that a political party may be dissolved if “it has solicited or resorted to collection of funds from private individuals or any agency other than from its registered members.” Furthermore, Section 54 of the National Assembly Act clearly states that “A member shall not resort to any form of fund raising from individuals or any agency.”

So, what Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and Dasho Cencho did – solicit funds, by letter, from people who are not registered members of their party – is most probably illegal.

But what they did is morally wrong too. Members of a ruling party sent letters to members of a very weak opposition asking them to make financial contributions and to join their party.

And what Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk did is dangerous. When the minister for economic affairs solicits donations from businessmen, it might easily be construed as outright corruption.

Illegal, immoral, dangerous: I’m forced to write to ECB about this.

 

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  1. Is Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk going crazy?

  2. This is interesting.
    Our choice is limited. If the ruling party(DPT) has done it as a party. Will they be penalized? but how? let all the DPT MPs resign and go for another round of election?
    I can totally write 10 pages about what if and how.. but all of us can if we want to. I am simply shocked!!

  3. PRO MEDIA says:

    Hey, hey guys!

    Don’t just jump to conclusions. We are are just hearing the OL’s version.

    Lyonpo OL, could you please reproduce the letter? Did you see the letter yourself or did you also get a second hand information?

    And by the way, is ECB the custodians of the Constitution? Or is the Royal Court of Justice. The silence of the CJ in all these constitutional crises makes me believe some allegations on him. I thought from the deliberations of the Constitution in the parliament he was the father of the Sacred Document. Or was he just playing territorial?

    Sorry too many questions la,

    • I’ve had the letter for six weeks. It’s in Dzongkha (2 pages) and in English (2 pages). Both are signed by “Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk” and “Dasho Chencho Dorji”

      • tshering tobgay is really going crazy.

      • Shocked Guy says:

        HE OL,

        Very shocked to read and heard.

        What is your next step?, will it be end after you published in your blog?

        One thing always remember, we the people in Bhutan humbly respect you all as our great leaders.

        What is the main reason Dzongdag Chencho to involved in political matters??? If, I were the RCSC Chairperson and OL, he is no where.

        Anyway,if this is a really fact, you are the responsible leader for justices. If not….????… and HE OL, be always man.

    • so sad that we don’t have Supreme Court..let Supreme Court come…what is constitutional right now might be unconstitutional later when Supreme Court(custodian of constitution) come up..hope for the best..peace out every one..trust Judiciary and be true Bhutanese..remember tsa-wa.sum.

  4. Yeah Yeah lets not jump to the conclusion…lets hear the story from both side….i think media should pick up these story….i am sure it will be very interesting story, perhaps to hear it from both side….

    Another point
    Honorable OL, is it right to address MPs as Dasho? Is it official? i am neither forward or against this tittle but just want to know so that i can address them appropriately….i am bit confused coz in media some address them as dasho whereas some don’t… For that matter, even for speaker, chairman and OL, should we address them Lynpo? Just want to know…

  5. The Election Commission should first check whether PDP is a legal party as per the electoral laws. They don’t have any office nor members in many constituencies. How can there be a party without party members? From what I heard, ECB office is in the same building as PDP office in Thimphu and the building is owned by none other than a PDP candidate. Now, isn’t that worth pondering – legally and morally? And isn’t that dangerous?

    • Apolo..please grow up…come back to earth!!

    • Dear Apolo:

      We are trying our best, and within the framework of our laws. But if you think PDP is not a “legal party” you, as a concerned citizen, should report the matter to ECB. They will, no doubt, look into the matter.

      PDP’s Thimphu office is in Changangkha. We do not share the same building as ECB.

      ECB’s offices are indeed located in a building that is partly owned by a PDP Candidate. If you think that this may be illegal, immoral or dangerous please take up the matter with ECB, our courts or the media.

      Tshering

    • Apolo, yes it is indeed dangerous with a little knowledge of yours. You should first do your homework and then make a point. Don’t simply say you heard, you should instead say you saw it.

  6. Samdrups- When I come across an MP I go “Mr MP.” The same for Lyonpos. I address them as “Lyonpo-La.”
    Members of the Armed Forces I address as per their ranking..so if its a Captain..its a Captain..Major..et al.
    And all red-scarf recipients are “Dashos” but should they also be honored with a presumably higher rank or title, then thats the proper address i guess.
    I think Bhutanese people, by and by are a courteous and polite lot, even when it comes to officials, businessmen, the grassroots’ workers and et al.
    Its when these ‘titles’ go to their heads that ‘miscarriages’ occur! Cheers!

  7. PRO MEDIA says:

    I am shocked!

    I have been a big fan of the Lyonchen and remain with a thin line of hope that he will remain that way forever. However, I am curious as to how he, as a person I always knew and respected, would allow stupid things like the CDG, throwing out BBS from NA, the Speaker spitting out comical and venomous attacks to the media and now a signed letter that is just against the Law.

    Could any anonymous DPT insider please respond?

  8. Hon OL,
    Before i scribble for or against,can you reproduce the original letter here.seems nothing wrong when requesting for fund from individual.it is up to individual to or not to contribute.i m sure the signed letter didn’t force them to fund. may be if they willingly offer they could become the member.
    But i wounder how you run your party offices in constituencies.

  9. My stand:

    If there is a law against it, then it surely is illegal.

    To me it is not important at this stage whether the law is stupid or not – what is important is that we respect the written law that is already in place. Now, if we decide that the law is stupid, we will still respect it while it stands, but at the same time, work towards amending.

    This is what I have been telling my friends in the DPT – don’t damn well interpret the law to suite their purpose – respect the law as it stands and if it is hampering progress , then work towards altering it. But do not defy a written law. That is incorrect.

  10. I see a different problem here.

    This was bound to happen anyway. Given our small population, there will never be enough contributions and the political parties will always remain in financial debts. I understand there is also a ceiling as how much an individual can contribute? State Funding has been ruled out as well.

    OL, what is your solution to this? I am sure you understand there should be a way to finance the Political parties. Obviously, the current system of financing the parties is not working. It would have, if we had a large population like the other larger democratic nations.

    In my opinion, the political parties are suffering. They are bound to fail if they do not come to a joint solution. What could be the best solution? Do you have any? Anybody has any? …..

  11. From the details posted, it definitely seems ridiculous.

    I await an analysis from the media.

  12. PRO MEDIA says:

    Thinking of it again, how the hell would the parties raise the money to sustain themselves? I know through membership fees, but:

    1. Students are mostly underage.
    2. Civil servants cannot be members.
    3. Armed forces cannot be members
    4. Monks and lams cannot be members

    That leaves only farmers and businessmen.

    You leave out farmers because they are broke and that leaves only the businessmen. How many businessmen are there in the country and how many can donate to sustain two political parties? Practically impossible!

    Serious flaw in our Electoral Law or is Lyonpo Khandu right?

  13. I have a solution that will work … but as long as this frigging CDG is not lifted, I am not going to suggest it. They will have the cake and eat it too!!!

    This CDG bugs me like hell. I mean tell me what is so different about this CDG from the annual budget that the Dzongkhangs get? Isn’t the budget CDG as well? in the sense that it is also for the development of the Constituencies. So what is so special about this Nu.2mil that is being funneled through the MP’s???

  14. Apolo is trying to manipulate the minds of the readers. He wants to distract us from a very important and serious issue by bringing in a totally separate subject. This is not about PDP and DPT. It is about a government Minister misusing his influence and power for political and personal gain. It involves a very serious conflict of interest and corruption. How can a businessman say no to a powerful Minister – that too of Economic Affairs? In other democratic countries, the media and other watchdog institutions would go all out to investigate, and to expose the wrongdoings of their elected leaders.

    I appreciate OL’s courage and integrity in posting this important issue in his blog. It shows that when it comes to safeguarding the future wellbeing of our nation, he is not going to compromise – even if it means going against people of immense power and influence.

    Let us now see if people in our media and other watchdog institutions live up to their sacred responsibility. Let us now see if they are worthy of our beloved King’s precious trust, support, and confidence in them. Do they have the courage, integrity, and commitment to stop our elected leaders from fooling around with our country’s future for their political and personal gain?

    I hope this time it won’t be the same old story of only the poor and weak paying the price for every small mistake they make – while the rich, powerful, and connected gets away with anything.

    • Hey Karma,

      Have you actually read the letter by your self?. if not please refrain from commenting such a blind respose.For your clearification Lyonpo did not write that letter in his capacity as MOEA minister rather as one of the DPT MP from Paro.It is rediculous on your part to say that Lyonpo is misusing his power.It is the most transparent thing a person can do by writing to irrespective of DPT or PDP supporters.Now its waste of time for you to accuse Lyonpo & me defend it.ECB is there to respond to it & take action if it contravines the law but also to take action on opposition leader for raising sucn issue since it does not mean he has to always oppose as he is in opposition.He has to be responsible for his words.The justification on the alleged fund raising did not sound strong enough when the headline reads “illegal, immoral, dangerous.” I think thats just to attract readers attention.

  15. Linda Wangmo says:

    I am just waiting to hear from OL, what the ECB says. IF ECB does not act, than there is definatly something wrong in our democratic system.

  16. Illegal, Immoral, Dangerous
    By writing and seeking financial support for the DPT office in Paro, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and Dasho Chencho Dorji have been most open and transparent. It is clear that had they intended to abuse their authority or resort to corruption, they would not have written letters and that too among others to alleged PDP members.
    I am a DPT supporter and know that the letter was written after the DPT party decided that the MPs must look after their respective Dzongkhag offices and raise funds for the same.
    The last paragraph of the letter reads “Kindly note that the Election Commission of Bhutan(ECB) in consideration of the financial difficulties faced by political parties have raised the maximum ceiling of an individual contribution from Nu.100,000 to 500,000. Please also note that in accordance with the Laws, your contribution will be adjusted as;
    i. Registration fees,
    ii. Membership fees,
    iii. Balance as your contribution. Unquote.
    Instead of being alarmed with the letter in question, we should be happy and encourage such openness and transparency

  17. Hello Opps. Leader, I cannot raise my voice for or against it unless I read the letter myself. I have learned not to trust anyone, no matter how convincing it sounds, before I see the material they are using. So I suggest you to publish the letters here if you really mean open debate on issues. How can sending a letter requesting, without any threat or activity, be considered fund-raising? Where were you when your party workers went door to door asking for people to register as member for your party during the election campaign? If you think what you guys did is legal, moral and safe; what makes you think otherwise when it is the other party that is doing it? Anyways, publish the letters if you really mean business here.

  18. I really dont know how the OP Mr. TP is acting

  19. All our Ministers who were groomed by our beloved King has dissappointed us by showing their true colors.

    They don’t love the country and all these act of patriotism till now was an act. They know very well what is good for the country and yet they try their best to intrepret laws to suit themselves and their party. They have created a gap and they have turned democracy into “Demoncreation”. L

  20. Kurtep Tenzin says:

    If Lyonpo Khandu really did this, ECB and ACC would investigate this and take severe actions.

  21. Wang Dungyel says:

    It is indeed a requirement for the MP to have office at their respective constituency. This help in bridging between the elected leader and the public. Since the office is not funded by the state, it is obvious the public should come forward and contribute to the fund to sustain the same. Our low paid MP’s salary will not be sufficient to support this. Our public are also not fully aware of the fund crisis faced by the political parties to keep their office running.
    On observation I have notice majority of people are not really interested to contribute, be it for religious activities, animal welfare, trust fund, political parties etc; other than criticism that is abundantly given.
    Therefore, legally, I don’t see any harm to appeal the public by politician for fund contribution. Yes, it is serious if forcibly approached and remember we have a system in place to report such. It is up to the individual to contribute. If you can contribute, please give, if not leave it. But bottom line is let us sincerely contribute depending on our capacity and not only to DPT but also to PDP to sustain our young democracy before such lapses collapses the system and create unhealthy opinion to the outside world which took century to build.

  22. I am wondering if the DPT being adamant about going ahead with their CDG (despite strong objection from their own supporters) has something to do with the shortfall in their party funds?

    I would hate to find out that this was all a hog wash to hoodwink the people.

  23. The Leader of the Opposition has raised the serious issue and thrown serious charge.

    Will Election commission use the Constitution provisions to dissolve the DPT?

    Kindly post us the answer from EC on your letter.

  24. The Concerned says:

    Thank you OL for the topic. We need more such expose. Insiders also say that the FDI appication relating especially to Aman Resort properties has also been approved during Minister Khandu’s time and they have been a tenant at his building, paying unusually exorbitant rent. The leasing of the Aman properties land at various locations also benefit few elite. They should have been in public properties where the public, the village benefits as a whole.Subsequent such FDI investments needs to be avoided. The ACC might like to cross check the finanacial statement of Aman properties and also check their tax records to see if there has been any upfront suspicious bribery payments made to officials involved. I wonder how DRC is evaluating the FDI tax and revenue component.
    This case also relates to Minister Yeshey Zimba and JYT’s sweet deals, favors and connections with the Architect firm of Christopher Berlinger.Retro- check their tax records too. Let us unravel the true story.

  25. OL Please can reproduce the letter they have sent to people?

  26. Hello to “the Concerned”

    Dig deep into the issues u have just highlighted upon and you will finally decipher truth therein.

    May I take this privilege to throw some light into your mind at abyss, so that you don’t make another communication fiasco hereafter. I surely won’t be going into details.

    Yes, the project office of Aman, known by Bhutan Resorts Corporation Limited (BRCL), in its infancy, was based on the first floor of Lyonpo Khandu’s residence..yes Lyonpo Khandu was a meager benefactor here.

    Now if you look across the fence, there were large fishes gulping down substantial amount of Amanresorts’s exchequer. Who were they? none other than the usual giants:

    1. Lhaki
    2. Singye &
    3. Bhutan Builders

    Now who are the above 2 construction companies (except the 3rd)?..you well know who they are. Poor Aman,…it took them seven years to come up with their set of resorts in the kingdom. N during that time period Lhaki and Singye have acquired many properties by basically sucking out every penny from Aman.

    These construction companies are not only the builders of Aman properties in Bhutan but their proprietors are also the joint owners of the resorts.

    Instead of going after Aman’s financial statement and tax records it would be wise to dig into tax records of the two construction companies and their proprietors. There are lots of discrepencies in most of their doings on this project which is better kept buried forever.

    I hope now you are off your fancies.

  27. My Dearest OL,

    I hate to say this but I just can’t hold myself to say aloud how much I envy you.

    An Opposition Leader with the rank of the cabinet has all the the time in the world to create a blog, moderate them daily, write articles and finally post it. How can he do it ? I only wish I have so much time to do all this. As a office goer I hardly have time even to read and reply my emails.

    Guys, please recommend me what should I do to be like the OL with all the perks of a Minister, with high status and power, highly revered (for being only the two elected in the party)and all to do is to moderate articles in a website/blog.

    How much I wish to be like him.

    Kudos to him.

  28. Kudurng

    I think it is simple enough. He may not have the time but as you have noticed, he still has the knack of finding time to do what he does. You say that you are so busy that you do not have time enough to respond to your mails. I wont contest that but you must know that not responding to your mails in time is considered poor social grace.

    Now, make an improvement in your life – ask the OL to reveal to you the secret to finding 2 minutes in the 1,440 minutes that make up a day and a night – which is what it takes to respond to a mail. How about that??? I am sure he will oblige!

  29. Dearest Guest,

    Indeed I am finding that two minute timing just to go through my emails…..that don’t need a rocket scientist to advice so.

    But when u talk about a nation’s OL, I was of the believe that it surely is a hard bone to find time in doing what he does, perhaps he does not have much to do. Read the follwowing …that is what I have seen him doing most.

    1. participate in archery tournaments.

    2. ofcourse moderating this blog

    3. Pass judgement on the government….and be mindful that it is only about two issues..(a)CDG & (b) state funding of the political parties…since there is not much he can complain about, he brings this up intermittently (like a fountain)…now it is running almost a year. Tell me if I am wrong??? I have hundred N one reason to prove my point right.

    So, the above three are things that I see him doing all the time. Ohhh…may be one more thing, I almost forgot….fuel up the media whenever they have anything against the government.

    I reiterate myself that I have hundred and one reason to defend my point. For I know the other side of our hon’ble OL.

    cheers.

  30. Hon’ble OL, the bone of contention here is requirement of letter (may be scanned copy) sent by Lyonpo Khandu to be read by the blog readres. Therefore, I sincerely request your excellency to share the letters with us.

  31. I remeber posting a comment in response to this concern about the PDP and I have not seen this yet. If I do see it posted then I will post else where. My question to the OL was if the parties cannot solicit for money and if only the registered members can contribute so to say “legally”, how can anyone become a member of the party in the first place?
    I think no one can get registered as a member with the registration fee paid by someone else, or can this be done????

    Can anyone clarify please.

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  2. […] of you (Pro Media, Zamtap, Sonam, Kudrung and Kids) have asked me to post the letter that Lyonpo Khandu and Dasho Chencho wrote soliciting financial assistance from people who are not […]

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