We plan to make the details public after we receive information from all the ministers
Kathmandu, September 15
Eighteen Cabinet and state ministers have so far submitted their property details to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, but the latter has yet to make public the details.
Ministers and high-level officials have to make their property details public within 60 days of their appointment, according to the Corruption Prevention Act. Although ministers were inducted in phases and the 60-day deadline for some of them is yet to expire, property details of seven ministers and the prime minister who were sworn in on June 7 should have been made public by the first week of August.
However, the OPMCM says a Cabinet decision is required to make the ministers’ property details public. “Although we have already received property details of 18 Cabinet and state ministers, we cannot make them public without a Cabinet decision,” said OPMCM Spokesperson Hari Prasad Panthee. “As soon as the Cabinet takes a decision, the ministers’ property details will be posted on the website of the OPMCM.”
The ministers who have submitted property details are among those who were inducted at the time of Cabinet formation and its first expansion, said Panthee. He, however, did not divulge names of the ministers who have submitted their property details. “Ministers are submitting their property details gradually. We plan to make the details public after we receive information from all the ministers,” he said.
Chief Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri said the Cabinet would most probably come up with a decision on the issue on Monday. “Since some of the ministers have just been appointed and they might take some time to furnish their property details, the Cabinet might decide to publish the details of those who have already submitted them,” he said.
Former chief secretary Bimal Koirala said he didn’t know if a Cabinet decision was required to make public property details of ministers. He said when he was in the office details were uploaded on the OPMCM website after the minister submitted them.
The Parliamentary Good Governance and Monitoring Committee Chairman Mohan Singh Rathaur said the ministers’ failure to make public their property details was against the norms of good governance, and that the committee would soon issue a directive to the government in this regard. “Our next meeting, which will be convened either on September 19 or 20, will direct the government to make public property details of the ministers at the earliest possible as per the law,” said Rathaur.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Cabinet has 54 members, including three deputy prime ministers, 26 Cabinet ministers and 24 ministers for state.
This is not the first time ministers have failed to make public their property details within 60 days. Former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s Cabinet made public property details of ministers four months after the government formation.
A version of this article appears in print on September 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.