Valley

Eight people face corruption cases for revenue dodging

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Feb 14, 2019-

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Wednesday filed a corruption case at the Special Court against eight persons—two from the government service and six from the private sector—for causing revenue loss of Rs759.63 million during the customs clearance of imported goods.

The anti-graft body said the accused have been involved in causing revenue loss to the government by colluding for the purpose of clearing goods imported by a firm—Miteri International Traders, through Rasuwa Customs Office on July 31 last year.

Among those charged of corruption holding positions in the government include the immediate customs officer at Rasuwa Customs Office Pabitra Kumar Khadka and Diraj Kumar Thapa, immediate non-gazetted officer at the same customs office, according to a press statement of the CIAA.

Other people indicted in the corruption charge include Suman Shrestha, proprietor of Miteri International Traders, and Ranjan Tripathi from the same company; Dhan Bahadur Tamang, owner of the vehicle that had carried the goods

for Miteri International; and Akash Shrestha, Niranjan Tripathi and Dambar Bahadur Shrestha, who worked on the behalf of Miteri to ensure that the company could walk away by paying less revenue than it should.

The anti-graft body filed the case against the two government staff, citing them as the main culprits in the corruption case, while the other six have been charged for acting as accomplices.

The anti-graft body has sought punishment for the two government staff as per section 3 (1i) of the Corruption Prevention Act. Punishment has been sought against the other six persons as per section 22 of the same Act.

As per section 3 (1i) of the Act, government staff who commit corruption of over Rs10 million is subjected to face imprisonment of 8-10 years, along with paying a fine equal to the amount corrupted. In cases in which the graft has already been accepted, it is also confiscated.

Section 22 of the same Act has provisions of punishment to accomplices. As per this provision, accomplices are liable to half the punishment. However, if the accomplice has given cash or kind or made available any other type of benefit to the public servant, he or she is liable to punishment equal to the person who has committed the offence.

Six, out of the eight individuals indicted by the CIAA in corruption charges, are also facing another case of revenue

dodging. On December 10 last year, the Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) had filed a case of revenue leakages against Ranjan Tripathi, Suman Shrestha, Dhiraj Kumar Thapa, Pabitra Kumar Khadka, Dhan Bahadur Tamang and Dambar Bahadur Shrestha.

According to the CIAA, the DRI had submitted a copy of a charge-sheet to it after filing its case at the Kathmandu District Court. The investigation of the CIAA also showed revenue leakages through collusion, according to the anti-graft body.

“There is a provision of strong punishment against those who get involved in revenue dodging in the Corruption Prevention Act,” said Rameshwor Dangal, spokesperson at the CIAA. “So, those who are facing the case of revenue dodging at the Kathmandu District Court should also face another case of corruption.”

The DRI had initiated the investigation on revenue leakages when it seized a truck (with plate number Na 5 Kha 6654) that was carrying garment and footwear products imported by Miteri.

The truck was heading to Kathmandu following the customs clearances in Rasuwa Custom Office. During the

investigation, it came to the fore that the products were being imported in different, fake names, with a different country of origin, so that importers could avoid paying a high tax amount. For example, 2,160 pairs of ladies shoes, which originated from Thailand, were given customs clearance after they were declared to have been originated from China.

According to the CIAA, the customs staff should have fined such importers for cheating on the country of origin as per the Customs Act. But, even when a different name, nature, country of origin and quality was declared, the importers were being allowed to dodge revenue during the customs clearance process due to collusion between the two sides.

Published: 14-02-2019 08:20

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