Govt proposes extradition and legal assistance treaties to combat corruption
KATHMANDU, July 22: The Baburam Bhattarai-led government has geared up to implement its international obligations to implement the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, one and half years after Nepal ratified the international anti-corruption instrument that promised better cooperation among members countries to combat threat of corruption.
The government has prepared a comprehensive national strategy and plan of actions to combat corruption by amending over two dozen existing laws. It also plans to strengthen capacities of the existing institutions and sign extradition treaties with the countries that are party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The government also proposes to bring corruption in private sector within the ambit of anti-corruption laws and promises to fight corruption by political parties.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is expected to make public the anti-corruption strategy and the plan of action, recently passed by the Bills Committee of the Cabinet, this week.
In its anti-corruption strategy obtained by Republica from a source, the government has proposed to amend 27 laws, including the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Act and Corruption Control Act. It further proposes to enact seven new laws -- Conflict of Interest Law, Intelligence Protection Act, International Organized Crime, Mutual Legal Assistance Act, Protection of Eyewitness, Victim and Experts, Extradition Act and laws related to developing the Money Laundering Investigation Department and the Department of Revenue as autonomous bodies.
The government also aims to strengthen the capacity of the Supreme Court, the Special Court, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Office of the Attorney General, National Vigilance Center, Office of the Public Procurement Monitoring, Money Laundering Investigation Department, Revenue Investigation Department and the Office of the Comptroller General.
Nepal ratified the UNCAC on February 23, 2011, joining international call to combat corruption effectively. The UNCAC aims at promoting and strengthening measures to combat and prevent corruption besides promoting, facilitating and supporting international cooperation and technical assistance.
The national strategy has tried to address widespread corruption in private sector and has proposed to amend existing laws to make corruption in private sector criminal case and subject to punishment. The office of the prime minister will prepared legal mechanisms within two years to make such corruption punishable. Besides, the 119-page strategy also proposes conflict of interest in private sector business by amending existing laws and requiring the private sector to make their business more transparent.
The strategy also aims to combat corruption by political parties. For this, the anti-corruption document proposes to amend existing laws relating to political parties and election so the political parties are required to make their funds more transparent.
The document, first of its kind, also aims at seeking international cooperation to combat corruption and recover money amassed by corrupt individuals in foreign lands. For this, the government has proposed to sign extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the countries which are party to the UN anti-corruption instrument.
The extradition treaty requires countries to extradite person requested by state party for investigation and prosecution under domestic law. Similarly, the mutual legal assistance treaty requires signatory countries to extend mutual legal assistance in investigation, prosecutions and judicial proceedings in bribery.
"I expected the national strategy and the plan of action have ensured the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption besides contributing to the campaign of the Nepal Government to end corruption," Bhattarai has said in the foreword of the document.
Similarly, Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire, in his foreword urged concerned authorities to effectively implement the strategy.