Panel zeroes in on bank loan defaulters

KATHMANDU: Nepali banks, mainly state-owned, have bad debts over Rs 35 billion, said the Defaulter Punishment Monitoring Committee (DPMC) in a press meet today. The government had formed

the DPMC on January 13, 2009 to recover bad debts of banks and other financial institutions.

So far, the committee has compiled a list of 355 defaulters, 14 more than the list published three month before of 339 defaulters. The committee has alleged that state-owned banks Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL), Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) and Rastriya Banijya Bank Ltd (RBB) are not cooperating in identifying defaulters.

“Despite our efforts, we do not have the final list of defaulters from the state-owned banks,” said Hari Roka, coordinator of DPMC and Constituent Assembly member. ADBL submitted a list of 13 defaulters of above Rs 50 million in bad debts. The committee is expecting more fraud in ADBL as DPMC is not getting the details, he added. However, the committee succeeded in forcing 13 defaulters — 10 of NBL, two of RRB and one of ADBL — to repay their loans. DPMC is currently focusing on defaulters above Rs 50 million from 5-6 years ago. “Thereafter, we will investigate cases above Rs 10 million,” said Roka.

Meanwhile, DPMC is coordinating with banks, government agencies and the private sector to develop

an effective legal framework to punish defaulters. It is trying to integrate Revenue Tribunal (RT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and Commercial Bench (CB) of the court. “If we can integrate RT, DRT and CB into a common minimum agenda we will surely get success,” he said.

The committee has advised the government to include financial crime in extradition treaties. “Some defaulters are living outside the country, mainly in India, so we need to include financial crime in extradition treaties,” Roka said. DPCM has found that Basuling Sugar and General Industries Ltd, Amatya Group (The Fulbari Hotel Ltd and Mt Everest Brewery Pvt Ltd), Rohi Group (Bagmati Khandsari Chini Mills Pvt Ltd and Triveni Distillery Pvt Ltd), Lakshmi Prasad Acharya Group (Radhika Handicrafts, Apinappa Carpet and Bagmati Apparel, Bagmati Traders and others), Lalwani Group, Luna Nepal Chemicals and Fertilizers Pvt Ltd) deliberately cheated the banks.

Furthermore, DPCM has asked the Ministry of Land Reforms and Management (MoLM) to investigate the property of defaulters in eight districts — Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Morang, Parsa, Chitwan, Kaski and Rupandehi.

The committee selected these districts on the basis of banking transactions and transfer of land ownership. “We have asked for details of the defaulters along with those of their relatives,” Roka said.