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CIAA plans to bring a just policy to prosecute graft cases

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 26, 2016-The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a corruption case at the Special Court against a section officer and a non-gazetted officer of Tribhuvan Basti Area Administration Office, Kapilvastu, after they were caught accepting Rs 10,000 bribe from a service seeker on Friday.

Jitendra BK, the section officer, and Subhas Singh Rawal, the non-gazetted officer, were arrested while taking the bribe money to revise the birth date of a service seeker in his citizenship certificate. 

If convicted, the duo will be barred from holding public posts in future. 

The other graft-accused who could face a similar punishment is the former additional inspector general of the Armed Police Force, Rishav Dev Bhattarai. But unlike BK and Rawal, AIG Bhattarai is involved in a corruption allegation involving unsourced assets worth Rs 19.13 million.

The Rs 10,000 bribe taken by BK and Rawal is paltry in comparison to Bhattarai’s Rs 19.13 million worth properties that he allegedly amassed during his service in the APF. Still, the trio will have to go through the same procedure at the court, though the penalty provision is different according to the law.  

This glaring disparity is a result of the lack of clear prosecution policy that CIAA also acknowledges. In its annual report for the fiscal year 2014-15, the anti-graft agency had announced that it would develop a prosecution policy to bring uniformity in its decisions, eliminate ambiguities, and bring a balance between the gravity of offence and the degree of punishment.

A CIAA commissioner told the Post that a committee, led by a government joint secretary, was formed to prepare the draft of the policy but did not materialise. 

Lokman Singh Karki, now suspended chief of the CIAA, was not keen about the project, he said.   

“As he was putting his hands everywhere, taking arbitrary decisions. He cared little about developing a prosecution policy,” said the commissioner, who is hopeful that the policy may finally see the light of day in the changed context. 

On the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, the acting chief of the CIAA, Deep Basnet, announced the plan of bringing out the prosecution policy.

“Development of prosecution policy is definitely on the high priority list now,” said another commissioner.

“The policy would help the CIAA target and prosecute serious corruption cases.” 

Under Karki,many corruption cases were uncovered through sting operations, in which the CIAA officials, posing as service seekers, tried to bribe the government officials.

And those who accepted bribe, no matter how small or large the amount, they were collared right then and there for corruption.

Such crackdown was in fact distracting the CIAA from investigating the cases that are far more serious and could have greater impact, a CIAA official said.    

Published: 26-12-2016 08:45

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