Big III stay mum on corruption scandals

Kathmandu, September 11

The major political parties — the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre have been maintaining silence when it comes to corruption scandals.

Neither the major ruling coalition partners — the NC and CPN-MC  nor the principal opposition party, the UML  — has commented publicly on Nepal Oil Corporation’s land purchase deal, the affiliation row of medical colleges, gold smuggling, irregularity in Sajha Prakashan and  the 4G service scam.

NC lawmaker Dhana Raj Gurung said it was difficult to differentiate between the ruling coalition and opposition parties on issues of corruption, as none of the parties have raised any question regarding the scams.

“The media has published stories of corruption with ample evidences. I wonder why even the opposition parties are maintaining mysterious silence in the House on the issues of corruption,” said Gurung, adding that the UML had obstructed House business repeatedly  over petty matters but never on corruption issues.

He doubted whether people allegedly involved in corruption scams had influenced leaders of the big three parties. “It is a serious thing that neither the ruling coalition nor the opposition parties have spoken against corruption scandals,” said Gurung.

He wondered why the government and other agencies concerned were not taking any action against those accused of embezzling billions of rupees. Gurung said the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee had directed the agencies concerned to take action against those alleged to have embezzled government money.

CPN-MC leader Chakrapani Khanal said the erstwhile government led by his party Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had decided to build fuel storage facilities in earnest. “But corrupt officials might have taken undue advantage of the government decision,” said Khanal. He said his party would break the silence on corruption cases and other unfair government decisions.

According to Khanal, his party has been giving full attention to the third phase of local level election slated for September 18 in Province 2. “We too are concerned about corruption scandals, we will raise our voice strongly after the third phase of election,” he added.

CPN-UML Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Paudel said the incumbent government is protecting the corrupt and is working to institutionalise corruption. “It is neither concerned about the plight of people nor other important national issues,” said Paudel.

Former chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay said the major parties have been keeping mum over irregularities in medical colleges, as leaders of all three parties have some kind of connection with the operators of medical colleges. He said that corruption has increased in recent times.

Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari said that cases of big scams published in news portals are just the tip of the iceberg. “These incidents came to light because they failed to hide it,” he said, adding that the actual scenario of corruption scams could be deplorable. He said a lot of gross corruption cases could be unveiled if investigated in-depth.

CIAA Co-spokesperson Khagendra Prasad Rijal said the anti-graft constitutional watchdog had speeded up investigation regarding the scam in the NOC land purchase deal. “Investigation takes time and we do not reach conclusion in haste, without examining all the details,” said Rijal. He said the CIAA was seriously probing all corruption allegations.