Member of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and Nepali Congress Central Committee member Dhan Raj Gurung is a strong voice against corruption. But lawmakers from his own party are looking to amend electoral laws to allow even corruption-convicts to contest elections. What does Gurung make of this? Here are excerpts of his interview with Mahabir Paudyal.
Biswo Poudel has a Phd in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkley. He has for the past two years been serving as an economist with the Office of the Millennium Challenge. Lead author of “Vision 2030”, Poudel has closely studied Nepal’s economic ties with India and China.
When Republica met Rajendra Sharma, Chief of Flood Forecasting Section at the
Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, in his office, he was monitoring water flow in our major rivers on various computer screens. He could not take a break lest he missed an important alert. But if we have such a sophisticated system to monitor floods, what explains such widespread death and destruction witnessed in the past few days in the Tarai? The senior hydrologist shared his insights with Mahabir Paudyal.
Republica and Nagarik dailies have in the past one month uncovered many cases of irregularities and corruption, amounting to billions of rupees, in our public entities. But no one has been punished so far. Is corruption in our public entities so pervasive that fighting it is a lost cause? And what is the judiciary’s role in it? Former Chief
Justice Sushila Karki who during her nine months in office successfully prosecuted many senior corrupt government officials shared her insights with Mahabir Paudyal.
Among its other duties, the parliament’s Development Committee is responsible for making government agencies accountable for the vital development and infrastructure works they carry out. This includes holding those responsible for the current messy state of the roads of Kathmandu Valley to account. Republica’s Thira L Bhusal and Mahabir Paudyal spoke to the committee chairperson, Rabindra Adhikari, on the state of valley roads. What explains the woeful state of our roads, and can we expect things to get better anytime soon?
In its 54th audit report, Office of the Auditor General had disclosed in April that controversial tax discounts of over Rs 21 billion were provided to different firms and companies by the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC) led by Lumba Dhwaj Mahat. The commission formed in 2015 had decided on the taxes worth Rs 30.52 billion and settled at Rs 9.54 billion. Erstwhile Acting Auditor General Sukadev Bhattarai Khatri took the decision to disclose the issue although they were under great pressure not to do so. The audit report has questioned the opaque tax settlement, which incurred huge loss to the government. Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has investigated the issue and has recently filed corruption cases against all three members of the TSC at the Special Court and it has sought to recover Rs 10.02 billion from each members. TSC’s member secretary Chudamani Sharma is in custody while Mahat and Umesh Dhakal are at large. Republica’s Rudra Pangeni caught up with Khatri to take insight on various aspects of controversial tax settlements. Excerpts:
Cartographer and scholar on border issues Buddhi Narayan Shrestha brings with him 27 years of experience working in the government’s Department of Survey and 21 years of experience in private land-surveying. Republica’s Mahabir Paudyal caught up with the veteran expert on Nepal’s borders to get his views on the current standoff over
Doklam tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. Are there similar tri-junctions between India, China and Nepal? If yes, how can Nepal forestall a Doklam-like situation?
Dharan is considered a unique town due to its cultural, social and geographical features. In the recently concluded second phase of the local level elections, Tara Subba, CPM-UML candidate garnered maximum votes and was elected as the mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City.
It is said that one reason the ruling Congress-Maoist coalition could not muster two-thirds majority in favor of the constitution amendment bill was the vacillating stand of Rastriya
Prajatantra Party (RPP). Was RPP, as a party, in favor of or against the bill? Is it even one united party? Is it joining the government? What is its stand on key political issues? RPP
President and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa shared his views with Biswas Baral and Mahabir Paudyal.