Govt wants NRB guv case settled soon: A-G

Kathmandu, July 13:

The government wants to see “the corruption case against governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and executive director Surendra Man

Pradhan settled as soon as possible,” attorney-general Yagya Murti Banjade told this daily today.

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed the case against the two at the Special Court recently.

Banjade, however, does not see any special way to communicate to the Special Court to settle the case early.

As Bhattarai has been suspended, the government cannot appoint another governor. Since the case is sub-judice it cannot fire Bhattarai.

Also, the Supreme Court precedent on the Tilak Rawal v government case prevents the government from firing the suspended NRB governor before he completes his four-year term as per Rastra Bank Act.

Bhattarai and Pradhan were suspended after the CIAA filed a corruption case against them on June 29.

The CIAA had held Bhattarai and Pradhan responsible for causing a loss of Rs 24.5 million to the NRB by terminating a contract it signed with the IEF INC Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA, in association with KPMG, Sri Lanka, last year.

As Bhattarai remains suspended, there is no one to exercise promissory authority of the central bank.

The Rastra Bank Act 2002 states that the acting governor can exercise all powers and authority of the governor. However, the Act does not specify whether the acting governor can exercise the promissory authority.

Some days ago, the Nepal Rastra Bank had officially requested the parliamentary finance committee to put an end to the confusion over the promissory authority by settling the case. Acting governor Krishna Bahadur Manandhar had sought the committee to take up the issue seriously. Banjade said there is no way except asking the court during hearing to settle the case at the earliest.

“During the initial hearing, government advocates who had pleaded on behalf of the CIAA had requested the Special Court to settle the case soon,” Banjade further said.

Banjade had told his juniors to ask the Special Court to give priority to settle the case. Clause 16 of the Special Court Act 2002 states that the Special Court will settle a corruption case normally within six months.