Kathmandu, March 18, 2008 The Supreme Court today convicted Bijaya Nath Bhattarai, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank and its Executive Director Surendra Man Pradhan of corruption and slapped fine of Rs 3,449,970 ($ 51,538) on them. With the conviction, the duo are expelled from their posts. A single bench of Justice Tahir Ali Ansari maintained that the duo caused a loss to the NRB by signing a contract on NRB Banking Sector Reform Project with the IEF INC. Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA in Association of KPMG, Srilanka and later terminating it. The bench neither supported nor opposed any of the three separate judgments forwarded by the Special Court judges. The Special Court had on February 17 referred the case to the Supreme Court for final settlement after the three judges failed to agree a common verdict. “The release of $51,538 (the contract money) violated Condition 6 (4) of the contract. Moreover, the money was disbursed without the consent of the World Bank. Thus, the duo were found guilty for the crime,” the bench observed. The bench also recognised the KPMG letter dated June 18, 2007 as an evidence. The CIAA had on June 29, 2007 moved the Special Court against the duo claiming that they had caused a loss of Rs 24.5 million to the NRB by terminating the agreement signed with the IEF INC. Lloyd Hill Oakton, USA in Association of KPMG, Sri Lanka. As per Clause 5 (6) of Special Court Act 2002, today’s SC verdict is recognised as the Special Court verdict and therefore, the defendants have the right to appeal to the SC against this verdict. “We will appeal to the SC against the judgment,” Bhattarai’s counsel Shiv Rijal told this daily.
Locals in Valley suburbs in dark about polls Kathmandu, March 18, 2008 Though political parties and Election Commission (EC) are in full speed for Constituent Assembly election set for April 10, locals in the outskirts of the capital are still in the dark about the meaning, date and contenders of the ‘historic’ polls. Majority of the people in Bhatti Dada of Sundarijal, which falls under Constituency No 3 of Kathmandu, are unaware of anything about the polls, as they say there is no political campaigning at all in their village. The small village lies just five km north from Jorpati and most of the people here are farmers or youths who go to the City for work. But those left at homes say they seldom leave the village and they have no knowledge about the polls. Biswombhar Lama (50), a farmer, says he has heard about the polls but he does not know what they meant. Neither does he know when the polls are going to happen, who are the candidates and whom he would vote for. He says he does not want to waste time thinking about it. “No people has come asking for a vote; so I think they don’t need it,” he said, adding that he would decide who to vote on the voting day.