PCWMC determines nearly Rs 8bn liability in ‘Oriental scam’

Kathmandu, July 11

The Problematic Cooperatives Wealth Management Committee (PCWMC) has calculated liability of almost Rs eight billion in the Oriental Cooperative scam.

On the basis of 7,500 claims that the committee received from the public (depositors), government, and banks and financial institutions (BFIs) seeking compensation from Oriental Cooperative, the cooperative’s total liability hovers around Rs eight billion, informed an official of the committee, asking for anonymity.

Among others, BFIs had submitted claims of Rs 2.53 billion that they had lent for the housing projects and airlines owned by realtor Sudheer Basnet, chief of Oriental Cooperative.

“The final entry process of all the claims is under way. We will come up with the exact liability amount of the ‘Oriental fraud case’ very soon,” informed Rewati Raman Pokharel, member secretary of the committee.

Earlier, PCWMC had collected claims from Oriental’s victims from Biratnagar, Birgunj, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Surkhet and Dhangadhi.

The committee plans to settle the claims on a case-by-case basis by giving top priority to the depositors. The victims will be gradually rebated after liquidation of Oriental’s property.

However, few officials at the committee said the liability amount could come down slightly, as Oriental’s chief — who was released last month after serving his two-year sentence — has been insisting that a number of claims made by so-called victims are fake.

“According to Basnet, various claims are baseless as Oriental had already settled them earlier,” informed a member of the committee.

Following actual identification of liabilities in the fraud case, the Problematic Cooperatives Wealth Management Committee plans to determine Oriental’s assets and liquidate them to compensate the victims.

“We have collected the details of visible assets of Oriental Cooperative. However, we suspect various ‘hidden’ assets of the cooperative registered in the name of third persons,” said Pokharel, member secretary of the committee.

The committee has been seeking help of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police to identify the physical and hidden properties of Basnet and the board of directors of Oriental Cooperative.