Conviction rate in graft cases at record lowAnti-graft body says Special Court scrapped corruption cases based on sting operations.
The conviction rate in corruption cases filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority in the Special Court tumbled to a record low in the fiscal year 2021-22 with the court scrapping cases that involved sting operations.
According to the Annual Report 2021-22 that the anti-graft body submitted to President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday, the conviction rate stood at just 38.51 percent in fiscal 2021-22, a sharp decline from 71.68 percent in the previous fiscal year.
With the Special Court giving verdicts in 148 corruption cases in the last fiscal year, it convicted the defendants only in 57 cases, according to the CIAA.
“It is the record low conviction rate in the 32-year history of the anti-graft body,” said Shyam Prasad Bhandari, spokesperson for the CIAA at a press meet. “The conviction rate fell sharply last year because the Special Court scrapped cases related to sting operations.”
In April 2021, the Supreme Court barred the anti-graft body from conducting sting operations, saying that such acts go against the constitutional and legal provisions and the principle of criminal justice.
The CIAA, however, has appealed at the Supreme Court against some verdicts of the Special Court in cases related to sting operations.
"We have insisted that there is enough extra evidence to convict the guilty," said Bhandari.
The anti-graft agency has long been conducting sting operations—in some cases its own officials pose as service seekers to bribe officials and catch them “red handed with the bribe”. The court last year said people arrested through sting operations do not need to stand trial.
Meanwhile, the CIAA filed corruption cases against 639 individuals last fiscal year. Two of the defendants are former ministers while three are former secretary-level bureaucrats. The number of public officials who were charged with corruption stood at 151, according to the authority.