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Corruption at its height

By D.M.Thapa
There is no doubt times have changed a lot in Nepal. Some good things have happened, but comparatively more bad things are happening.
Good things like democracy, though a chaotic one, has been established, there is a free market economy, banking facilities have reached far corners of the country and good medical facilities are available at least in the urban areas.
But the worst thing is the rampant corruption the politicians and everyone else seems to be involved in. Even the police, who are supposed to ensure law and order are involved in taking bribes.
Right now, not one, but two IGPs of the Nepal Police are already in jail and a third is on his way to go to jail as the Supreme Court has already indicted him for being involved in corruption in the Darfur Scandal. In this scandal armored vehicles for the Nepal Police personnel on duty in Darfur, Sudan were of very poor quality and many police personnel took bribes worth more than 280 million rupees from the total budget.
This is scandalous. There has never been any record of three police chiefs being sent to jail at once. Several innocent officers were also suspended, but the courts decided to give the verdict that all the culprits were innocent. Many other officers were also accused in the case and at least some of them should have been corrupt, but all were sent away Scot free by the Special Court. Even the IGPs who have been indicted by the Supreme Court have gotten away with light prison terms and small fines compared to the amount of money they looted from the government coffers.
This is absolutely absurd! It has been alleged by some people that the officials within the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) are corrupt themselves. After all, the majority of them are bureaucrats or police officials. It has been reported in the media many times they normally catch only the small fish and against the bigger officials and politicians, they make weak cases which a clever lawyer can easily blow holes through. Because of this even the convicted culprits get away with light terms in prison and small fines. Like this author has mentioned for umpteen times, the convicted individuals should not be treated harshly, but they should get long prison terms and made to pay hefty fines so that others would refrain or at least be discouraged to indulge in corruption in any government office.
Finally the CIAA seems to have caught a “big fish” in its net and that person with two accomplices are being kept in custody. When this author was a teenager and had gone to her home village in Syangjha, she found that many people had not seen a one thousand rupees note. This was true of most other parts of the country. So we were struck with awe when we heard that some officials had taken bribes in thousands.
This all changed when late Surya Bahadue Thapa became the prime minister and he, some of his ministers and also bureaucrats started taking bribe in lakhs.  The then king Birendra looked the other way, probably because Thapa had ensured the victory of the panchayat system in the referendum of 1980.
The situation became worse when late Girija Prasad Koirala came to power and such bribes were taken in millions. Now, it is being said that the Director General of the Inland Revenue Department Chudamani Sharma and his two accomplices, embezzled a mind blowing eleven billion rupees, much, much more than the budget just announced by the Lalitpur municipality.
Now the public is waiting for how tight the case the CIAA has made against Sharma and what sort of verdict the courts will give him if he is proved guilty.

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