CIAA summons whistle-blower in Baskota audiotape scandal
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 2
Nine months after Bijay Prakash Mishra, a Swiss company agent, leaked an audiotape in which the then Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota was heard demanding bribe from a Swiss company for awarding a contract to set up a security printing press in Nepal, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has summoned Mishra.
The anti-corruption body issued a public notice today, summoning Mishra for a discussion within the next seven days. The CIAA has warned Mishra of legal consequences if he fails to appear before it within the stipulated time.
The allegation had forced Baskota, a confidant of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, to resign.
Baskota, who denied any wrongdoing, had filed a defamation case against Mishra at Kathmandu District Court on February 28.
In the audiotape Baskota is heard negotiating Rs 740 million commission with Mishra in the security press procurement deal.
Complaints have been lodged against Baskota at the CIAA accusing him of negotiating kickbacks in the security press procurement deal.
Oli has defended Baskota, saying there was no solid evidence against him in the scandal.
“I want the procurement deal to be sealed at Rs 26-27 billion. If the deal is sealed, let’s assume, at Rs 25 billion, what amount will we receive?”
Baskota is heard asking Mishra in the audiotape.
In his reply, Mishra says the kickbacks will amount to around Rs 740 million — 70 per cent of which Baskota will receive in commission.
Baskota is then heard saying that the deal amount could be raised by Rs 1 billion to increase the commission amount.
CIAA Spokesperson Taranath Adhikari said the CIAA was hopeful that Mishra would come to the anti-graft body to provide information and evidence regarding the security press deal. Asked when the CIAA would file a case in the court, Adhikari said the decision to file the case would depend on the investigation into the case.