CIAA drafts new Act to make corruption law on par with UNThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority is drafting a new Corruption Prevention Act aiming to bring under its purview even the Nepalis working in foreign government’s offices and international organisations in Nepal.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority is drafting a new Corruption Prevention Act aiming to bring under its purview even the Nepalis working in foreign government’s offices and international organisations in Nepal.
CIAA officials said the effort is to make the country’s anti-corruption law compatible with the UN Convention against Corruption that Nepal signed in 2011.
According to provisions in the initial draft, if any Nepali working in foreign or international public entities provided any graft or undue benefit or agreed to provide such benefits to the foreign officials and officials of public international organisations in exchange for undue benefits, such person would be penalised.
“Those who encourage Nepalis working in foreign or international agencies to make such proposals will also be penalised but half of the punishment will be meted out to the main guilty,” according to the draft law.
Article 16 of the UN convention has a provision for introducing legislative and other measures against providing bribe to foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations.
The convention also mandates the states to introduce laws to penalise private sector officials. But the draft legislation has sought to bring public limited companies under surveillance without touching private limited companies.
The draft bill categorises banks and financial institutions, cooperatives, insurance companies, public limited companies listed in the stock exchange, non-government organisations and consumer committees established to preserve and use natural resources as public entities.
“As the money of general public is used by these institutions, we have sought to categorise them as public entities and bring those running such institutions under the purview of the anti graft body,” said CIAA Spokesperson Padam Prasad Pandey.
As the constitution envisages three layers of government, the law is aimed at officials of the central, provincial and local governments. After the constitution denied the CIAA oversight of public officials’ “improper conduct”, it has sought to define some of the improper conducts as corruption arguing that such acts lead to corruption.
In view of the activities ordered by the CIAA under Lokman Singh Karki, the Constituent Assembly strip-ped the commission of its power to probe improper conduct of public officials.
Public officials involved in such acts as setting standards to limit competition, approving re-evaluation of tender for undue benefit and changing specifications deliberately or making others do so will also be penalised.
The CIAA Act defines misuse of authority as improper conduct. The draft law seeks to bring people who influence or persuade public officials to misappropriate revenues under the CIAA’s watch. For instance, the CIAA filed a corruption case against members of the Tax Settlement Commission on the charge of bringing benefits to enterprises in dubious ways but the anti-graft body now lacks jurisdiction to penalise the private sector that benefited from the TSC’s decisions.
The CIAA has also proposed action against officials for not taking timely decisions with a motive to bring undue benefits to someone at the cost of public entities.
If any public official provides explanation for failing to take decisions on time, they will be spared action, according to the draft. Pandey said they would discuss the matters internally and present the draft for approval once the new government is formed.