CIAA gets to probe ‘improper conduct’

  • statute draft revision
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 10, 2015-

Following suggestions for not curtailing the jurisdiction of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the constitutional body has been mandated to investigate into ‘improper conduct’ of public officials.

The special committee under the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee of the Constituent Assembly incorporated the provision, mandating the CIAA to probe civil servants’ improper conduct.

The committee defines ‘improper conduct’ as negligence and violation of law, and any decision or order that causes national loss.

Improper conduct, which is generally defined as the abuse of authority, is a lesser evil compared to corruption, and its impact is huge in least developed countries like Nepal. The CIAA is now authorised also to probe public corruption.

The constitution draft curtailed several of the CIAA’s rights. The anti-graft body and organisations working in the field of good governance had urged senior leaders of major political parties and the CA chairman to strengthen the watchdog.

“It’s a welcome move. A corruption-prone country like ours has no alternative but to strengthen the anti-graft body as a single agency,” said Transparency International-Nepal President Bharat Bahadur Thapa. The CIAA has been investigating into the improper conduct of civil servants since 1990 but leaders involved in preparing the draft had omitted the provision mainly after the differences between incumbent CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki and parliamentarians in recent days over the body’s jurisdiction.

There is still no clarity about the number of commissioners at the CIAA. The Authority currently has seven commissioners while the statute draft provisions only five commissioners in each constitutional body.

The annual report (2014) of Transparency International, a Berlin-based watchdog, ranks Nepal 126th (highly corrupt) among 175 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index. The survey named political parties and public service as the most corrupt institutions in Nepal. The provisions come at a time when preparations were under way to expand the CIAA’s jurisdiction in view of controlling private sector corruption by bringing judiciary, I/NGOs, banking and financial institutions, the Army and the business community under its ambit.

The CIAA has so far exercised its sole authority of arresting public servants, taking them in custody and filing charge sheets against them on the basis of its investigation.

Published: 10-08-2015 12:39

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