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House absence nixed plans: PM


Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai affirmed on Sunday that he could not appoint commissioners to the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in the absence of the Legislature-Parliament.

“The Constituent Assembly was dissolved when the process of appointing the chief commissioner and commissioners to the CIAA was in its final stage,” said Bhattarai, addressing a function held to mark the CIAA establishment day. At last year’s function, PM Bhattarai had said that “not to have senior officials appointed to constitutional bodies, including the CIAA, is unfortunate” and that “appointments will be made within 15 days”.

Bhattarai, who did not take adequate measures to appoint commissioners before the CA was dissolved in May last year, had forwarded an ordinance to the President’s office regarding appointments after the CA dissolution. However, President Ram Baran Yadav has put the ordinance on hold citing the need for broader consensus among the political parties. The provision for a special parliamentary hearing for commissioners is constitutionally binding.

Bhattarai is not solely responsible for the failure to appoint commissioners. Other PMs—Girija Prasad Koirala, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal—who led governments after the 2006 movement failed to appoint commissioners too. Ever since acting CIAA chief Lalit Bahadur Limbu and member Bed Prakash Siwakoti retired in January 2010, bureaucrats have been running the anti-graft body.

According to CIAA officials, over 400 cases related to disproportionate incomes, cantonment corruption and other corruption cases have been filed against ministers but no processes have been initiated in the absence of constitutionally appointed members.

In his address, Bhattarai said that he was doing his best to control corruption. Soon after being elected the head of government on 28 August 2011, Bhattarai had vowed to continue an austerity drive, deciding to ride the Nepal-assembled Mustang Max.

The PM also took exception to the opposition’s accusation that his government had “promoted corruption”. “Those parties and the people, who set new records in corruption and spread it to each mechanism of the state and society, are now trying to create an illusion that we all are the same. We need to be wary of them,” said Bhattarai.

As the political crisis continues with no effective measures adopted to tackle increasing corruption, Transparency International has put Nepal among the most corrupt countries in the world.

Posted on: 2013-02-11 02:00