Officials Charged of Corruption Still Active in Government Task

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Officials Charged of Corruption Still Active in Government Task

April 14: Although the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated a graft case against officials of a committee established by the government to provide recommendations for operating international airports through a public-private partnership (PPP) model, some members of the committee remain actively involved in its work.

This situation directly conflicts with Section 33 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2059, which mandates the automatic suspension of civil servants facing corruption charges until their cases are resolved. CIAA spokesperson Narahari Ghimire said that such officials would not be permitted to continue working in public institutions following the filing of corruption charges.

The CIAA filed a case on April 4 against 32 individuals, including former secretary and committee coordinator Shankar Adhikari, as well as Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and committee member Budhisagar Lamichhane, over allegations of corruption related to the procurement of wide-body aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation.

Despite this, officials from the committee informed New Business Age that both Adhikari and Lamichhane have continued their engagement with the committee's work. Adhikari himself confirmed his ongoing participation, asserting that his term as committee chair had concluded before the case was registered. He said that, legally, he no longer holds a position of public responsibility, stating that he was merely assisting in the report preparation process after completing the study.

A cabinet meeting on February 1 established a study committee under the leadership of former secretary Adhikari. This committee was tasked with providing recommendations for the operation and construction of international airports in Nepal under a public-private partnership (PPP) framework, with a deadline of one and a half months to submit its report.

Despite the expiration of the committee's term on March 16, it has yet to submit its report to the government. An official of the committee revealed that the report is nearing completion and is expected to be finalized within a few days. He further noted that the question of whether the officials would be suspended or not has become less relevant as CIAA filed the corruption case after the committee's term had ended.


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