KATHMANDU, Feb 12: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has expressed worry over growing proclivity among political leaders to misuse their positions and indulge in corruption.
Addressing a function organized by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Saturday, the prime minister claimed politics in Nepal had earned a bad name owing to politicians who resort to dishonest means to make financial gains.
“Corruption thrives when political leaders are themselves corrupt. It is very unfortunate that politics has become a means for financial gains,” he said.
The prime minister said it is difficult to check corruption when top political leaders indulge in corruption. “I am fully committed to freeing politics of corruption. I believe maintaining good governance would be possible only if politics is freed of corruption,” he said.
Stating that the government has zero tolerance on corruption, the prime minister said the government has formulated laws and ratified various international conventions to check corruption in the country. He also expressed his commitment not to make appointments in the CIAA on the basis of parties´ strength.
The prime minister informed that the government has already issued a public notice to fill the vacant positions in the constitutional bodies. “The vacant positions in various constitutional bodies, including chief and other commissioners of CIAA, will be filled in a transparent manner and on the basis of the merit,” he said.
Speaker Subas Nembang, Parliamentary State Affairs Committee Chairman Ram Nath Dhakal and Public Account Committee Chairman Ram Krishna Yadav speaking at the function made satirical remarks, expressing worries that corruption was at its peak and that the Bhattarai-led government had failed to check it despite repeated commitments.
Nembang stressed on the need for taking stringent measures to curb corruption in the country. “How would Kathmandu look like if God made all corrupt people naked for a day? I wonder if it would be possible to enter Singha Durbar on that day,” Nembang said, prompting all at the function to burst into laughter.
Parliamentary State Affairs Committee Chairman Dhakal echoed Nembang.
Dhakal, who is also a UML leader, said he did not any regret his inability to vote for Bhattarai during the prime ministerial voting in parliament. “I regretted then for not being able to vote in favor of Bhattarai due to party discipline. After five month, I no regrets whatsoever.” UML had voted in favor of NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel for the prime minister´s post.
Accusing the prime minister of protecting corrupt politicians, Dhakal also criticized him for failing to appoint commissioners in the constitutional bodies. “A person convicted of murder by the Supreme Court is close to the prime minister. The prime minister is not committed to taking action against the guilty. Instead he has been protecting such people,” he said.