CIAA seeks authority to probe pvt sector, NGOsThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has urged lawmakers to “expand jurisdictions” of the anti-graft body to enable it to probe the private sector and non-government organisations.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has urged lawmakers to “expand jurisdictions” of the anti-graft body to enable it to probe the private sector and non-government organisations.
During a discussion held between CIAA officials and lawmakers representing the Parliamentary Good Governance and Monitoring Committee at the CIAA headquarters on Friday, the anti-corruption body also urged parliamentarians to restore its jurisdiction of investigating ‘improper conduct’.
The CIAA was denied jurisdiction of investigating into ‘improper conduct’ as Constituent Assembly members were against the working style of the ousted chief commissioner Lokman Singh Karki.
According to the constitution and legal provisions, the CIAA can probe corruption committed by public officials in government entities. Judges and Nepal Army personnel come under the CIAA’s radar only after they retire or are removed from office.
“We asked the lawmakers to work towards expanding our jurisdiction by including the private sector and NGOs in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption which Nepal’s Parliament endorsed in 2011,” said Jibraj Koirala, the CIAA spokesperson.
The convention states: “Each State Party shall take measures, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, to prevent corruption involving the private sector, enhance accounting and auditing standards in the private sector and, where appropriate, provide effective, proportionate and dissuasive civil, administrative or criminal penalties for failure to comply with such measures.”
As there are no other institutions to look into corruption involving the private sector, the anti-graft body has long been seeking such powers. “People from the private sector can be penalised only under the Money Laundering Prevention Act, which is not sufficient as they are inseparable parts of corruption to be committed by public officials,” said Koirala.
According to a lawmaker who attended the discussion, CIAA officials had said they can only look into 25 percent corruption cases as the judiciary, Nepal Army, private businesses, public limited companies, cooperatives and NGOs were out of its reach.
In recent efforts at introducing a new anti-corruption bill, officials from the CIAA and the Prime Minister’s Office had reached an understanding to include cooperatives, banks and financial institutions and the insurance sector, where the public has stakes, as the first step towards reining in the private sector.
The CIAA, which withdrew the bill in November 2016 to make “some adjustments”, is delaying another draft while it seeks political support to expand its powers.
Chairperson of the parliamentary Good Governance Committee Mohan Singh Rathore said the CIAA was told that the lawmakers were positive about expanding its jurisdiction, particularly the restoring of authority to probe improper conduct of public officials.
“We told them that the provision had to be removed because of its abuse by the erstwhile CIAA leadership,” he said.