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03KATHMANDU975 2003-05-28 09:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL'S ANTI-CORRUPTION WATCHDOG INITIATES

Tags:   PGOV ECON KCRM NP 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000975 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR SA/INS
LONDON FOR CGUERNY
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USAID/ANE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON KCRM NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL'S ANTI-CORRUPTION WATCHDOG INITIATES
INVESTIGATIONS OF LEADING POLTICAL FIGURES

REF: 2002 KATHMANDU 2467

Summary
========



1. (SBU) On May 16, the Commission for the Investigation of
the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) issued summons to prominent
current and former politicians and government employees,
including former Prime Minister and General Secretary of the
Nepali Congress Party Girija Prasad Koirala. On May 19,
Koirala filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting a
stay order, which was denied. The court did issue a notice
requiring the CIAA to respond in writing to Koirala's
petition. Koirala has found little support for his legal
actions thus far. Regardless of whether Koirala wins the
Supreme Court case, his defiance of the CIAA now pits him
squarely against the public's interest in fighting
corruption. End summary.

New Sweep of Corruption Investigations
=======================================



2. (U) On May 16, the Commission for the Investigation of
the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) issued summonses to over forty
prominent current and former politicians, ministers, police
officers, and civil servants, including former Prime Minister
and General Secretary of the Nepali Congress Party Girija
Prasad Koirala. The summonses requested the recipients to
present themselves at the CIAA's office on May 19. The
CIAA's action was based upon the findings of the Judicial
Inquiry Commission on Property (JICP), which required 30,000
public servants and former officials to provide details on
their assets (reftel). The JICP provided the report to the
King and Cabinet on March 4. The report was passed to the
CIAA on May 1, after a Cabinet decision. On May 8, the Home
Ministry made public the names of 1,900 politicians, civil
servants, and police officers who had failed to submit
property forms. However, neither the Home Ministry nor the
CIAA has released the full details of the report, citing the
need for security during investigations.



3. (U) Members of the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist
Leninist (UML), the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), and
both factions of the Nepali Congress received summonses.
However, the Nepali Congress, including Koirala's daughter,
received the majority of the actions issued. Other prominent
individuals summoned include:
-- Lok Man Singh Karki, Secretary of the Ministry of
Population and Environment;
-- Tirtha Man Shakya, former Chief Secretary;
-- Chakra Bandu Aryal, former Secretary of Defense;
-- Padam Prasad Pokharel, former Secretary of Home;
-- Achut Krishna Kharel, former Inspector General of Police;
-- Moti Lal Bohara, former Inspector General of Police;
-- Arjun Narsingh KC, Nepali Congress Central Working
Committee Member and Party Spokesman;
-- Sujata Koirala, daughter of G.P. Koirala;
-- Khum Bahadur Khadka, former Minister of Home;
-- Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, former Minister of Culture,
Tourism, and Civil Aviation;
-- Bal Bahadur KC, former Minister of Culture, Tourism, and
Civil Aviation;
-- Govinda Raj Joshi, former Minister of Home;
-- Dr. Prakash Chadra Lohani (RPP), former Minister of
Finance and of Foreign Affairs;
-- Dr. Ram Saran Mahat, former Minister of Finance and of
Foreign Affairs;
-- Mahesh Acharya, former Minister of Finance;
-- Bam Dev Gautam, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Home;
-- Bhim Rawal (UML), former Minister of Culture, Tourism, and
Civil Aviation;
-- Mohan Bahadur Basnet, former Minister of Health;
-- Mohan Bahadur Karki, Chief of the National Surveillance
Center; and
-- Rabindra Nath Sharma, former Minister of Finance.

Koirala Charges Political Motivation
=====================================



4. (U) Koirala shot back at the CIAA on May 17, charging
that the CIAA's summons was "simply a game to assassinate my
character." He also demanded that all of the details of JICP
report be made public and that the royal family declare all
of its property wealth back fifty years. On May 19, Koirala
filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting a stay order
on two alleged grounds. First, the basis of the CIAA's
summons, the JICP report, was illegally obtained. Second,
the CIAA has not followed proper procedure in summoning
Koirala. On May 21, the Supreme Court turned down Koirala's
request for a stay order but instead ordered the CIAA to
respond in writing to Koirala's petition within fifteen days.
Other members of the Nepali Congress Party did not join
Koirala's legal fight and appeared before the CIAA at their
appointed time.

Others Supportive of CIAA
==========================



5. (U) In pointed contrast to Koirala's public fight against
the CIAA, Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of the UML,
stated that "the corrupt should be punished and jailed."
(Note: Nepal was not/not among those summoned by the CIAA.
End note.) He cautioned, however, that the CIAA
investigations must be justified and not politically
motivated. Executive Director Prakash Sharma of the
non-governmental organization Pro-Public lauded the
initiative of the CIAA, arguing that the CIAA is within the
authority given it by Parliament. Both Sharma and Ashish
Thapa, Executive Director of Transparency
International-Nepal, agreed with the CIAA's decision that the
details of the JIPC report should not be made public in the
interests of protecting the investigation.

Next Steps
===========



6. (U) Those summoned probably will continue to trickle into
the CIAA's office over the coming weeks. During their
sessions to date, the CIAA has requested clarification of
property details and the submission of updated financial
disclosure forms. According to CIAA statements, the revised
documentation will be the basis for possible future legal
action. The CIAA's summons to Koirala still stands and,
according to CIAA statements in the press, Koirala's
continued refusal to appear before the anti-corruption
watchdog flouts the authority of that body. Under law, the
CIAA has the authority to arrest Koirala. An unnamed CIAA
official stated, however, that "we want to maintain civility
and expect Koirala to come before or after the court verdict."

Comment
========



7. (SBU) The two-month hiatus between the delivery of the
JICP report to the Cabinet and the issuance of summonses
raises questions about the timing of this far-reaching
inquiry. That said, well before the dismissal of the last
government on October 4, public surveys cited corruption as
one of Nepali voters' most pressing concerns. There is
widespread public support for CIAA's campaign as well as a
widespread perception that well-entrenched politicians like
Koirala are appropriate targets of investigation. Regardless
of whether Koirala wins the Supreme Court case, his defiance
of the CIAA now puts him squarely against the public interest
in fighting corruption and undoubtedly contributes to the
long-term erosion of support for himself and his party.
BOGGS