Govt will probe alleged transfer of funds, says PM

Kathmandu, January 18

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today told the House of Representatives that the government would launch an investigation into the alleged transfer of funds by Nepalis into foreign banks, especially in Switzerland, and punish them if found guilty of violating the country’s laws.

He said this while responding to lawmakers’ queries during a question-answer session in the lower House. Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Khagaraj Adhikari and Nepali Congress lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu had asked the PM what the government would do to Nepalis who had illegally transferred funds to foreign countries.

A report released  by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists  on Wednesday revealed that at least 55 Nepalis had parked Rs 35.8 billion in Swiss banks violating the country’s law. They include a professor, a doctor, a former member of Parliament, businesspersons and politicians.

In his maiden question-answer session with lawmakers in the HoR that lasted for more than an hour, the PM said, “The government will not tolerate any kind of irregularities, corruption or loss of revenue.” The PM said that his government was committed to ensuring good governance, fiscal discipline and transparency.

The PM had to field questions on parking of money by Nepalis in Swiss banks two days before a delegation led by him leaves for Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum Summit scheduled in Davos for January 22 to 25. He said his Davos visit would focus on development and investment issues and he would try to woo investors to invest in Nepal on the sidelines of the summit.

Oli responded to 10 questions from lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties as per the House of Representatives regulation.

When lawmakers representing Madhes asked him when the government would amend the constitution, the PM said it would not do so in haste. “The government cannot blindly support or outrightly reject the demand for statute amendment. The constitution is not a religious book that cannot be amended,” he added.

Oli said the government was serious about its project to run ships from Nepali rivers to Indian waterways and also working towards expanding railways. He said the government had been holding discussion with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to know how much it would cost to run railway service parallel to the east-west highway.