Kathmandu, January 16
The Cabinet has given a clean chit to Nepal Rastra Bank Deputy Governor Shiba Raj Shrestha, who was under investigation for allegations of misconduct.
Interestingly, the Cabinet itself had in November directed the Ministry of Finance and central bank to conduct a probe against Shrestha on the charge of ‘various misconducts’, including his involvement in jeopardising the country’s financial stability, promoting money laundering and taking facilities unlawfully during his foreign trips.
However, Gokul Prasad Baskota, spokesperson for the government, said Shrestha was given the clean chit after allegations against him could not be proved. Addressing a regular press meet of the government to make public decisions of the Cabinet over this week, Baskota said, “We had initiated the probe earlier as questions were raised against his conduct.”
Following the government’s decision, Shrestha is expected to resume his post and office from Sunday.
After the direction from the Cabinet, the central bank had formed a committee to investigate allegations levelled against Shrestha under the coordination of Sri Ram Poudyal, a member of NRB’s board of directors. The committee had submitted its probe report to the government in the second week of December, stating that though Shrestha had acted against the law in some instances, most of the mistakes made were due to systemic deficiencies/weaknesses.
However, during the investigation, the team uncovered evidences that proved Shrestha had assisted a few institutions that had breached financial stability in the country, according to a committee member.
On the basis of the report submitted by the committee, the government had sought clarification from Shrestha a few weeks ago. However, Shrestha was given a clean chit after his response was found to be ‘satisfactory.’
Ever since the probe was started against Shrestha, he had been refuting all allegations against him claiming that they were aimed at tarnishing his credibility in the run-up to the race for the post of the governor. NRB Governor Chiranjibi Nepal is retiring after around three months and deputy governors are often the primary contenders for the post.
Shrestha had stressed that all his decisions were based on the law and as per consultations with the NRB management and board members. THT could not contact Shrestha as his mobile ‘was out of reach’.