PAC orders sacking of graft-accused Nepal Television officials

Kathmandu, June 26

Public Accounts Committee of the legislature-parliament today instructed the Ministry of Information and Communications to relieve from duties some officials of the state-owned Nepal Television found guilty of irregularities by the probe panels formed earlier.

The panels had found General Manager Laxman Humagain and other officials guilty of irregularities and had recommended them for action. Others found guilty in the probe were Rajan Kumar Shrestha, director of finance administration division; Paban Kumar Mandapya, chief accounts officer; senior accounts officers Rishiram Bhantana and Kamal Regmi; and accounts officer Dinesh Paudel.

The PAC formed a sub-panel headed by its member Dor Prasad Upadhaya to probe why the previous reports submitted by the panels were not implemented and submit its report within a month.

“The committee decided to instruct the ministry to relieve those found guilty by the previous reports for the time being and manage accordingly,” said PAC Chairman Janardan Sharma.

PAC members had expressed discontent with NTV leadership for not covering PAC’s recent meetings that discussed financial irregularities at the state-owned media. The Upadhaya-led panel has also been mandated to look into the managerial problems faced by the NTV.

Complaints were lodged at PAC, stating that action was not taken against the guilty although the previous committees had found some senior officials of the NTV guilty of irregularties. They were accused of embezzling Rs 80.64 million in cahoots with World Vision, an advertising agency.

Some CPN-UML members, including Mamata Giri, had opined that the issue should be dropped as it was already dealt by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

After UML member Bikash Lamsal accused former Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal, who was present there, of not implementing the previous reports when he was minister, Rijal defended himself saying he had taken the issue to the CIAA and deputed the accused to the ministry.

Some lawmakers from NCand CPN-UML were divided on the issue.