Kathmandu, April 21, 2006

In a move indicating the possibility of a series of arrests, the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) arrested former minister and central working committee (CWC) member of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) Prakash Man Singh this morning from his residence at Chaakshibari after Singh defied RCCC’s summons issued on April 18. The RCCC said it had taken the step after Singh failed to turn up in the time period given by RCCC. The deadline had expired yesterday. Singh, who was caught between the police and party activists, told reporters the arrest was “unconstitutional” and a “ploy to defame” political parties. “Why should I value an unconstitutional body?” Singh said as policemen in civil clothes dragged him towards a van after about 10 minutes of scuffle between the forces and Singh’s supporters. NC(D) cadres shouted slogans against the action and barred police from entering Singh’s house. Today’s assertive action of the RCCC points to the possibility of arrest of former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba “any time soon” for opposing RCCC summons and his alleged involvement in the access road contract deal for the Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP). “Action will be taken on the basis of law,” RCCC spokesperson, Prem Raj Karki said hinting at the possible arrest of Deuba. “Anybody defying the summons would be dealt with according to the legal framework,” he said, justifying the move as being purely based on constitutional rights. According to Karki, Singh has been kept in judicial custody at Pahara Gana.

Nepal to lose out on foreign aid worth Rs 12 billion

Kathmandu, April 21, 2006

Government estimates have scaled down the amount of foreign aid flowing into the country in the form of ‘loans and grants’ by 37.5 per cent due to the ambiguities surrounding the stand of donor community vis-a-vis Nepal in recent months. In the beginning of fiscal 2004-05, the government had estimated to receive Rs 32,309 million in foreign aid. That has been scaled down to Rs 20,407 million following the completion of the first six months of the fiscal — an estimated loss of over Rs 12 billion in foreign aid. The government had estimated that Rs 16,959 million will come as loans from donors, which has been scaled down to Rs 9,096 million, according to the latest review document of the Ministry of Finance. The review was necessitated after the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund expressed doubts about releasing aid to Nepal. Rajiv Upadhyay, senior external affairs specialist with the World Bank, Nepal, said unless the government demonstrated an ‘imaginative implementation mechanism’ and a greater commitment to the reform process, foreign aid is likely to keep dwindling.