Four anti-corruption bills passed

Lower House passes anti-corruption BillsHimalayan News Service Kathmandu, April 12 The House of Representatives on Friday unanimously passed the four Bills brought to clamp down on corruption. The four bills — to empower Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), set up Special Court, and allow Impeachment and the Bill to control corruption — will then be presented to the National Assembly, where it has at least 72 hours to discuss and approve.This is probably the first time in the history of parliamentary exercise when all the parties have come together to pass the Bills unanimously. The House of Representatives sat in two sessions to give more time for discussion and amendments in the task force. A task force — comprising lawmakers from both the houses, formed to make the necessary changes in the four Bills without sending them for detailed discussions in the committees met a number of times in the recent days to decide on the amendments in the four Bills.“The unity of all the parties to push forward the Bills and make effective legislations to deal with cases of corruption shows that the problem is deep-rooted and everybody is serious about addressing it,” said Pradeep Gyawali, CPN-UML lawmaker. A number of MPs had filed for amendment in all the four Bills, which were discussed and decided in the extensive meetings of the task force. The task force decided to allow CIAA to investigate into the Cabinet, policy-level and ministerial decisions and to scrap the provision in the proposed Bill that set a time frame for investigation. The Bill brought to control corruption had a provision that prohibited any investigation on corruption cases two after a person is no more in the position.“Some of the Bills have finally come for approval after years of delay; we need to pass them to penalise corrupts and thus discourage the corrupt practices,” said Leelamani Pokhrel of the United People’s Front. The Bills were tabled at the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The fifth Bill - introduced to amend number of existing Acts in the country, however, has been held back. It will be sent to the parliamentary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for discussion and amendments. It will be presented for approval in the next session of Parliament.The Corruption Control Bill recommends fine and sentence to cases including bribery, commission, under-valuation of goods and services, accepting donations in cash and kind and revenue leakages. The government can form three-member Special Court under the recommendation of the Judicial Council. The government needs to announce the formation of the court - for speedy and efficient delivery of justice to specific cases - through the gazette. Twenty-five per cent of the members of the House of Representatives can file impeachment case against any office bearers of a Constitutional body if – they are found inefficient to perform their task, have immoral character and if found misusing their positions. The case if passed by the lower house after investigations into the accusations will be sent to the King, whose approval will release the person from his duty in the constitutional body.