Nepal moves to impeach anti-graft panel chief

Kathmandu, Oct 23 (IANS) An impeachment motion was tabled in Nepali Parliament on Sunday against the suspended chief of the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Lokman Singh Karki. The discussion on the motion is expected to start on Tuesday.

Karki, who is known as “powerful man” in Nepal’s state machinery, has been alleged to have run a parallel government, misused power, and threatened politicians and bureaucrats.

Moreover, Karki created obstructions while receiving legal notice from the Supreme Court against his cases on the ground that he headed a powerful constitutional body.

An impeachment motion was registered in parliament against Karki on Wednesday by 157 MPs from the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), the main opposition party of Nepal, and the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre).

Speaker Onsari Gharti informed the house that a motion for Karki’s impeachment has been registered, and time on Tuesday has been allotted to discuss further the proposal.

An impeachment recommendation committee has already been constituted in the house, which will later grill Karki and seek answers to the allegations levelled against him.

Considered a powerful man, Karki has started lobbying in all major political parties, fearing they may backtrack from their position and he may be impeached.

A royal servant turned top bureaucrat until 2006, Karki was Chief Secretary during King Gynandra Shah’s regime in 2006 and was later suspended from the position for helping the king to supress popular movement in Nepal.

Later, he was appointed chief of Nepal’s anti-graft body in 2013 by a technocrat government upon the recommendation by major parties.

But he started taking revenge against party leaders, filed cases against several leaders and top bureaucrats, and opened corruption related cases against top Maoist leaders.

Karki’s these moves irked the leadership of major parties, prompting them to register an impeachment motion against him.

The process of clearing the impeachment motion is expected to complete in six weeks. The move is being spearheaded by the Communist Party of Nepal CPN(UML), the main opposition party of Nepal with the support from ruling CPN(MC).

The Nepali Congress, the largest party in parliament, is still undecided but it is claimed that the party’s President, Sher Bahadur Deuba, too favours Karki’s impeachment.”The party will not go against the people’s sentiment,” said NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Deuba is under pressure from NC leaders to support the impeachment motion against Karki. The NC will resume its Central Committee (CC) meeting on Monday to decide its stand.

The UML has already decided to support the impeachment motion while a meeting of Maoist Centre’s central Committee too on Sunday decided to support the motion. The house needs two-thirdd votes to approve the motion.

Karki started working against political leaders, taking revenge against them and “worked with full of prejudice so that we decided to register no-confidence motion”, said UML Vice President Bamdev Gautam.

The impeachment motion was registered in the parliamentary secretariat by 157 MPs from the CPN (Maoist-Centre) and the UML.

Last week, most NC leaders who spoke at the central committee meeting dubbed the impeachment motion a UML ploy to break the NC-Maoist coalition and undermine efforts to amend the Constitution.

However, the NC also faces tremendous pressure from activists, professionals and the civil society to impeach Karki. Some younger NC leaders have also supported the motion.