Corruption rampant at top political and bureaucratic levels: PM
KATHMANDU, Dec10: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai speaking at a function on Sunday accused political as well as bureaucratic leadership of being corrupt while other speakers sharing the podium pointed fingers at him for failing to implement his own commitments against corruption.
"I can say it without hesitation that corruption is rampant at top political and bureaucratic levels and this is the most serious problem at present," the prime minister said at a function organized by Transparency International Nepal on the occasion of anti-corruption day on Sunday. Bhattarai said only a handful officials at the top-level bureaucracy and politics are not involved in corruption.
The prime minister said general medication won´t work against corruption, which has taken the form of cancer. "We need to take harsh measures including surgical operation to rid the system of this cancer," he explained.
The prime minister said the state should invoke most stringent laws to punish those corrupt individuals in public office. He also called for formulating new harsher laws to punish corrupt individuals. "Leash works for goats but not for elephants," he explained.
Other speakers at the same function however criticized the prime minister and political leaderships for failing to living up to their commitments against corruption.
"National consensus not to control corruption"
Former Speaker Daman Nath Dhungana at the function asked the prime minister why haven´t successive governments filled vacancies at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for years.
"It is interesting to see that the top leaders of the major parties are in agreement against filling vacancies at the CIAA and other constitutional bodies," said Dhungana. "This is a very naked and bitter truth before us."
He blamed the political leaderships for their failure to make appointments at the CIAA for the last six years. According to him, had the governments in the recent past appointed efficient head and members at the CIAA, much could have been done to curb corrpution after the success of the 2006 movement. "But the leaders from the same political forces who spearheaded the historic movement remained reluctant to institutionalize the changes," Dhungana lamented.
Doctor Govinda KC from TU Teaching Hospital, who was honored at the function for his campaign against irregularities at the hospital, criticized the prime minister and other leaders for making political interference in such organizations though political appointments in the key posts. "My demand was simple that appointments in the key posts in vital organizations like the TU Teaching Hospital should be made on the bases of seniority, performance and integrity of candidates, but I had to resort to fast-unto-death twice for this," KC said.
Nepali Congress (NC) leader Narahari Acharya, however, differed with the prime minister´s opinion that lack of strict laws was a hindrance to curb corruption. "We have made a lot of commitments at national as well as international levels and there are a lot of legal and constitutional provisions against corruption. The only thing lacking here is commitment at the personal level," said Acharya. "We talk big but fail to look into ourselves. If corruption stops at individual level then the problem will be solved in no time."
CPN-UML´s Pradeep Gyawali said political leaders had vested interests in keeping the vital positions vacant in the anti-corruption body. He also criticized CIAA officials for failing to probe the corruption in the UCPN (Maoist). "It is a shame that the erstwhile acting head of the CIAA publicly proclaimed that he didn´t take up the corruption row because the UCPN (Maoist) itself was investigating it," Gyawali said.
The TI-Nepal also honored former prime minister the late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai posthumously for his life-long dedication to democratic values, and his simple, clean and transparent lifestyle.