180 army personnel face court martial

Kathmandu, November 11

The Nepali Army has formed an eight-member committee led by a major general to conduct a court-martial of 180 army personnel for alleged irregularities and corruption.

These personnel have been accused of corruption during staff recruitment a year ago.

According to NA Spokesperson Gokul Bhandaree, Chief of Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa appointed a major general as leader of the committee to court-martial the accused. The committee also includes an officer from the legal department of the Nepali Army. A source said Major General Sharad Giri is leading the court-martial.

Complaints had been lodged with the NA stating there had been irregularities and corruption in September-October during the recruitment process. At that time, the NA had recruited technical corporals, driver and other low ranking staff. In April-May this year, the NA had conducted a court of inquiry after which 180 personnel were suspected of involvement in corruption.

Bhandaree said the court of inquiry only focused on army personnel. “We also received complaints that civilians were also involved in irregularities and exchange of bribe during staff recruitment,” he said, “We have informed the police in writing. Police will initiate action against civilians involved in corruption and irregularities.” Some people and army personnel have taken bribe promising applicants job in the NA.

Bhandaree said the court martial process had already begun. “Court martial will be conducted as per the Nepali Army Act,” he said and added, “But we also need to follow due process in accordance with the law.”

Bhandaree said if army personnel found guilty of corruption wanted to appeal against their conviction, they could do so in the High Court. He also said such incidents had occurred in the past and the NA had punished guilty army personnel, but this was the first time such a large number of personnel were accused of bribe and irregularities.