‘Government won’t take action against those embroiled in wide-body jet deal immediately’

- Sanjaya Lama, Kathmandu

Jan 10, 2019-

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Banskota the government would not take action against minister and other staffers accused of carrying out irregularities while procuring the two wide-body aircraft immediately.

Speaking at a press conference orgainsed to inform about the Cabinet decisions in Singha Durbar on Thursday, Minister Banskota, who is also government spokesperson, said that legal action should not be initiated in a hurry without getting proper investigation reports.

“Other committees of the Parliament are also investigating the issue,” he said, adding, “Mistakes have been found in the report prepared by the sub-committee formed by the Public Accounts Committee. It doesn’t matter who ever he is, stern action will be taken once the government gets the report from all sides.”

He said action will be taken only after the conclusions of the sub-committee report and the government probe committee report match.

“Not to take action against the accused doesn’t mean that they will never be punished,” he said, adding, “No matter who the person is, anyone found guilty will be taken action as per the recommendation of the probe committee after the final conclusion.”

The sub-committee led by Nepali Congress lawmaker Rajan KC had submitted a 58-page investigation report to PAC, accusing the high level officials at the Tourism Ministry of misappropriating funds while procuring the two-wide body aircraft.

The report charged Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari, Civil Aviation Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota, Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Sisir Prasad Dhungana, and Managing Director of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Sugat Ratna Kansakar, among others, with embezzling at least Rs 4.35 billion during the procurement of two wide-body aircraft.

‘Ambassador Shrepa will give a way out soon’

In a different context, Minister Banskota has expressed his hope that the issue pertaining to Nepali Ambassador to Australia Lucky Sherpa will be resolved within a few days. He said that Ambassador Sherpa will give an appropriate way out within a few days.

“She is not only a diplomatic personality but also a political figure. Prime Minister and Nepal Communist Party Chairman duo have also taken this issue seriously. She has been told to give a way out,” he said.

A committee formed to investigate the issue of Ambassador Sherpa has already submitted the report to the government and the Chairman duo has also urged Sherpa to resign from her post according to the recommendation of the report, Minister Banskota clarified.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had formed the committee to probe the allegation of human trafficking against Nepali Ambassador to Australia Lucky Sherpa.

Sherpa was appointed the Nepali Ambassador to Australia during the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government under the then Maoist quota.

Before joining the then Maoist party, she was elected as the lawmaker from then CPN-UML under the proportional representation category.

Sherpa’s driver Wongchhu Sherpa accused Ambassador Sherpa and her husband of trafficking Nepali citizens to Australia.

According to Wongchhu’s account, he had collected more than Rs3 million, on behalf of the ambassador and her husband, from several individuals in Nepal in return for a safe passage to Australia. He said he had promised to collect another Rs6 million for the couple before leaving his job. Wongchhu had accompanied the ambassador to Canberra after she was assigned the role in May 2017.

Ambassador Sherpa, however, has been refuting the allegations leveled against her.





Published: 10-01-2019 18:06

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