New drafts propose amendments

This will enhance CIAA’s scope for action

Kathmandu, July 20

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has prepared new drafts of the CIAA Act, 1991 (Amendment) Bill and Prevention of Corruption Act, 2002 (Amendment Bill) proposing to bring employees of international agencies, financial offices and corporate houses under its ambit.

This means the CIAA can take action against employees of financial sectors and corporate houses if they indulge in improper action and corruption.

Financial sectors and corporate houses include banks and mega hydel projects where the public have invested money through shares, according to a high-level source at the CIAA.

According to the source, the CIAA Act (Amendment) Bill proposes to give jurisdiction to the anti-graft body over improper action of public officers. Such jurisdiction used to be under the purview of the anti-graft body before the new constitution was promulgated. The new constitution, however, was silent on the issue and the CIAA was not able to take action against public officers accused of improper conduct in the absence of law.

The CIAA has proposed in the draft bill that it should have jurisdiction over corruption committed by foreign individuals, international organisations and employees associated with foreign institutions.

The source said the CIAA’s efforts to enact new laws were in line with Nepal’s commitment to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Nepal became party to this convention in 2003 and Nepal’s Parliament ratified the agreement in 2011.

The CIAA source said that if the Parliament endorsed the new bills proposed by the CIAA, the anti-graft body would be in a position to take action against international office bearers and employees working in international organisations.

These provisions are also in line with the UNCAC provisions, said the CIAA source.

The new bill also has provisions to ensure protection of complainants and eye witnesses.

UNCAC states that member countries should enact laws to ensure protection of those who lodge complaints against corrupt people and eye witnesses who record their statements.

Article 22 of UNCAC incorporates provision related to embezzlement of property in the private sector. It says: each state party shall consider adopting such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish criminal offence, when committed intentionally in the course of economic, financial or commercial activities, embezzlement by a person who directs or works in any capacity in a private sector entity of any property, private funds or securities or any other thing of value entrusted to him or her by virtue of his or her position.

Prevention of Corruption Act Bill incorporates broad definitions of corruption and the provisions of punishment for corrupt people.

The government has recently endorsed these bills and they are being discussed in the Bill’s Committee of the Cabinet.