gold smuggling saga: PAC decides to summon authorities again

  • Declares clarifications furnished by Home Ministry as ‘incomplete and inappropriate’
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
gold smuggling saga: PAC decides to summon authorities again

Dec 7, 2014-

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to summon police and Home Ministry authorities yet again to give evidence before the Members of Parliament on the issue of gold smuggling and incentives given to informants, declaring that clarifications furnished by Home Ministry officials as “incomplete and inappropriate”.

The PAC on Sunday summoned Secretary at the Home Ministry Surya Silwal among other officials to discuss on a complaint filed at the committee, in the wake of revelations that police officials had swindled incentives meant for informants who helped bust 35 kg of smuggled gold in July. But chief of Nepal Police Upendra Kanta Aryal did not appear before PAC and Additional Inspector General of Police Surendra Shah attended the meeting instead.

During the meeting chaired by Janardhan Sharma, PAC expressed reservations over the explanation given by the officials on the complaint which alleges many police officials of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) for swindling money meant for rewarding the informants. Acting on a tip-off, a CIB team on July 10 seized 35 kg of gold from a truck at Koteshwor on July 10. The gold biscuits were being smuggled from Khasa, China into Kathmandu by hiding them inside a false bottom created beside the driver’s seat.

Under the Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act-1995, an informant who helps bust the illegal gold shipments shall be rewarded around 15 percent of the value of confiscated bullion.

In the meeting, Secretary Silwal said that information about the gold was obtained on July 7 and not on July 9 as mentioned in the complaint. “We cannot reveal the names of informants. The case is under review at the Department of Inland Revenue and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority,” he said. “The three persons, who lodged the complaint, have never tipped off police about any of the incidences so far.”

The majority of Members of Parliament grilled the Home Ministry officials, saying that the incident belittled the committee and demanded another session with IGP Aryal in attendance. Sharma said some senior police officials had threatened the informants on Saturday to withdraw the case. “This is unacceptable. I urge the concerned authority to provide full security to these people,” he said.

Speaking at the meeting, Ek Nath Dhakal of Nepal Pariwar Dal demanded the list of informants over the gold smuggling incident and a thorough investigation into the case. Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal of CPN-UML blamed a “setting” between police officials and gold smugglers for the increased entry of illegal gold into the market.

Published: 08-12-2014 09:54

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