Nepal Today

Monday, April 8, 2013

REMAINING ANNUAL BUDGET BEING ANNOUNCED TUESDAY Kathmandu, 9 April: Government Tuesday is announcing a final third tranche of the annual budget of Rs.55 billion for fiscal year 2012/13. The previous Baburam Bhattarai government couldn’t announce a complete budget following differences with parties ins parliament.. Finance Minister Shanker Koirala briefed President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav Monday night on the details of the budget. There will be now new tax proposals or policies and programmes being brought by a government of retired senior bureaucrats to hold elections sometime in December. The cabinet will approve the proposal of the finance minister and send it to the president for announcement through ordinance. Nnnn LAWYERS DIFFER IN KARKI’S APPOINTMENT AS CIAA CHIEF Kathmandu, 9 April: : While hearing at the Supreme Court on a writ petition against the proposed appointment of former chief secretary Lokman Singh Karki as the chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is scheduled for Tuesday, legal eagles are sharply divided over whether or not he should be selected for the top post, Republica writes.. A group of lawyers and other experts working in the anti-corruption field have said that it would a mockery of rule of law and democratic values if Karki is appointed as head of the crucial constitutional body. They argued that Karki must not be appointed there because the high-level Rayamajhi Commission formed after the popular April movement in 2006 had found him guilty of brutally suppressing the people´s movement and abusing his authority. During the time when the people´s movement was in a peak in 2006 and the then King Gyanendra Shah headed the government, Karki was chief secretary. According to those who have been advocating at the apex court against Karki´s appointment said that the CIAA itself had recommended, based on the findings of the Rayamajhi Commission, the government to disqualify Karki for any public post for future. "It will be a mockery of rule of law and democracy to appoint the same person as head of the CIAA even as the same body recommended the government to disqualify him for future," said a lawyer. The lawyer preferred anonymity as he was advocating against Karki´s appointment and the case is still sub-judice. He said that the person to head a body like CIAA should have a high moral stature so that no one could raise any question against the person. "But if Karki is appointed to the post, the reputation of the entire CIAA itself would come under question and the public trust in the body will end. That will be unfortunate for the country and democracy," said the lawyer. However, another lawyer argued that Karki´s appointment can never be challenged legally. He claimed that neither any court nor the CIAA has found him guilty as of now. "As far as the findings of the Rayamajhi Commission is concerned it is only an opinion and not legally binding," the lawyer told Republica. "It has only moral and political value." According to him, had any court or CIAA or any other constitutional body found him guilty on any serious charge, Karki wouldn´t be able to draw pension as retired bureaucrat but he is receiving the state facility till date. He claimed that the CIAA in the past had only quoted the paragraphs of the Rayamajhi Commission´s report but the anti-corruption body didn´t draw any conclusion on its own. A senior official at the CIAA explained that it didn´t draw any conclusion because the government had already formed a committee headed by the erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seeking its suggestions for implementation of the Rayamajhi Commission´s report. "The CIAA concluded that there is no relevance of its role since the government had already formed a committee for the same purpose," the CIAA official told Republica. Another CIAA official said that there was no point in taking any initiative by the CIAA on the matter since the Oli-headed committee had already given clean chit to former King Gyanendra Shah, who headed the erstwhile government. Sunil Pokharel, general secretary at Nepal Bar Association, sees malafide motive behind the leaders´ decision as it intends to elevate a controversial person to the head of a crucial anti-corruption body that too in the absence of parliament. "First of all, a person of unquestionable integrity should be appointed to such a crucial position and there should be a rigorous hearing at the the parliamentary committee before confirming such appointment. The most worrying thing is that now the leaders have cunningly planned to appoint him to the post by bypassing the legislature," Pokharel told Republica. A large section of lawyers, civil society representatives and anti-corruption activists have taken strong exception to the proposal to appoint Karki as the head of the anti-graft body. Key leaders from UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front had reached a political understanding to appoint Karki as the head of the CIAA, which is being run by civil servants sans commissioners for years. Top leaders involved in the decision making process from NC and UML have been fiercely criticized by the second-rung leaders and party rank and file for the decision. The UML´s disciplinary commission had sought clarifications from its leaders for agreeing to promote a controversial person to a crucial position. Nnnn EV,s SOUGHT FROM INDIA FOR ELECTIONS Lathmandu, 9 April : The Election Commission (EC) has sought logistical support including Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) from India for conducting Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, Republica reports.. In a meeting with Indian ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad on Monday, EC top officials asked for the logistical supports from the Indian Government as it did in the CA elections 2008. According to EC Spokesperson Madhu Prasad Regmi, Prasad, in response, said that he would forward the request to the Indian Government. Regmi said that they also asked for mini trucks, among other logistic supports from the Indian government. “The EC needs 150,000 ballot units and 55,000 control units for CA polls,” he maintained. The EC top officials applauded the Indian supports for the EVMs in CA polls 2008 stating that it was widely accepted and time efficient. However, an EC commissioner said that they are yet to come up with categorical lists on supports to be sought from the Indian government. “We could not spell out categorically as it was our first meeting with the Indian ambassador,” said the commissioner, “It will be followed by other meetings.” The constitutional body had used EVMs in seven constituencies during the CA elections 2008. Meanwhile, officials from the European Union (EU) held discussions with the chief election commissioner and commissioners on Monday at the EC´s central office at Kantipath about the CA polls. According to EC officials, they asked if the EC needs election observers in the CA polls as during the erstwhile elections. In response, the EC commissioners stated that the constitutional body expects supports from the EU as it received during the CA polls in 2008. “It is obvious that we need observers during the CA polls in the present situation,” said an EC commissioner. They (EU officials) also expressed concerns over free and fair election. nnnn


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