With Karki gone, who will take CIAA helm?

  • Qualification of four of the five commissioners challenged in court
  • Statute bars govt from bringing new face to lead anti-graft agency

Jan 10, 2017-While declaring Lokman Singh Karki unfit to hold the post of the chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the Supreme Court on Sunday also ruled that he be replaced by “a qualified person”.

So who the government is going to appoint as the new chief commissioner of the anti-graft body? Will one of the commissioners head the constitutional body? Or will the government bring a new face to lead it? 

According to Article 238 of the Constitution of Nepal, the CIAA should have five commissioners—one chief commissioner and four commissioners. The CIAA already has five commissioners—Deep Basnyat, Nabin Kumar Ghimire, Ganesh Raj Joshi, Raj Narayan Pathak and Sabitri Thapa Gurung.

Attorney General Raman Kumar Shrestha says the next chief commissioner will be appointed from among the existing commissioners as long as they hold their positions in the anti-graft body.

However, four of the commissioners—Basnyat, Ghimire, Joshi and Gurung—also are facing a court case in which their qualification to hold the posts has been questioned. Hence, the appointment of new chief commissioner at the CIAA has become even more complicated. 

“As the appointment of the new chief commissioner should be made as per the new constitution, there is no other option than to appoint one of the commissioners,” Shrestha says. Karki and other commissioners were appointed as per the interim constitution. 

Until last year, there were six commissioners in the anti-graft body. The tenure of Keshav Baral, one of the commissioners, expired in January last year. 

Basnyat is working in capacity of acting chief commissioner of the anti-graft body based on seniority since October 19 when lawmakers registered an impeachment motion against Karki, which resulted in his suspension. 

Former attorney general Yubaraj Sangroula also says there is no other option than to appoint one of the commissioners as the chief commissioner because the number of commissioners cannot exceed five as per the constitutional provision. “There cannot be more than five commissioners, including the chief commissioner, at the CIAA,” says Sangroula. “To bring someone into the office from outside, either one of the commissioners has to resign or one of the commissioners should be declared unfit to hold the post, just as it happened in the case of Karki.” 

A CIAA commissioner told the Post that he believed someone from among the five commissioners would be appointed the chief commissioner. 

Concluding that Karki is not qualified for the post of chief commissioner of the anti-graft body, the apex court on Sunday annulled his appointment and directed the government to appoint a person qualified as per the constitution as the chief.

Published: 10-01-2017 07:20

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