Action against those named in jet scam after panel report

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jan 11, 2019-

At a time when the government is under fire for undermining parliamentary supremacy, its spokesman has said there will be no action against the officials indicted by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee until the government-formed inquiry commission presents its report.

Answering the queries of journalists, government Spokesperson Gokul Prasad Banskota on Thursday said the government would take necessary action against those involved in the scam only after the report of the inquiry commission.

“We’ll take into account the PAC report but since the government has already formed a probe commission, the case will be finalised only after the report comes,” said Banskota, claiming that the government would not work in a hurry as many questions have been raised. He said there was no uniformity in the decisions of the subcommittee and the Accounts committee.

At a press conference last week, Minister Banskota had claimed that the subcommittee’s report was not the ‘ultimate truth’.

He claimed that the high-level inquiry commission was formed after the leader of the opposition party and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba demanded a panel to look into the multi-million dollar widebody purchase scam.

A day after the PAC subcommittee’s report was revealed by the media on January 2, the government formed a three-member commission headed by former chief judge Govinda Parajuli with former deputy attorney general Nanda Prasad Pathak and chartered accountant Madan Sharma as members.

The parliamentary committee on Monday directed the government to implement its recommendations and present the progress report within a month. However, the government commission is due to submit its report only after 45 days.

In parliamentary democracy, the PAC plays a crucial role in maintaining public sector accountability and it examines the use of resources and the financial operations of state agencies.

The PAC subcommittee report had implicated sitting Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari and top bureaucrats in the embezzlement surrounding the purchase of jets.

The subcommittee headed by Nepali Congress lawmaker Rajan KC submitted a 58-page investigation report to the PAC indicting officials who were in charge of the Tourism Ministry when the procurement process began.

Later the PAC revised the report on Monday, taking a softer stance on Minister Adhikari and indicting two secretaries. Managing Director of Nepal Airlines Corporation Sugat Ratna Kansakar has been named as the kingpin of the whole Airbus aircraft purchase episode.

The PAC has recommended that the government and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) suspend Kansakar and initiate necessary action against him for having a key role in the irregularities while purchasing the aircraft in according with Clause 236 (2) of the Financial Bylaws.

The parliamentary committee has also directed the government to suspend Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA).

It also directed the government and the CIAA to take strict legal action against Devkota on the basis of further investigation. The committee also demands action against former MoCTCA secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikari.

Published: 11-01-2019 08:15

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