Nepal's Parliament ratifies UN convention against corruption on Feb 23, 2011

Nepal supreme constitutional body (The Parliament) on February 23, 2011 unanimously ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which Nepal had signed way back in 2003. A total of 146 countries have endorsed the convention.

Once law is formulated in line with the convention, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) will get more teeth to investigate irregularities taking place even in the Cabinet, bureaucracy, judiciary, security forces, the private sector, NGOs/INGOs, civil society and parliament.

Participating in discussion on the urgency to ratify the convention, UCPN-M lawmaker Khimlal Devkota said the convention had wider definition of corruption; it has envisaged enhancing institutional capacity to deal with graft. He said the convention would help prevent, detect and deter international transfer of illicitly acquired assets and strengthen international cooperation in asset recovery.

The convention will also be instrumental in regulating political financing as well as controlling corruption in the private sector, Devkota said.

Lawmakers Pradip Gyawali, Ramnath Dhakal and Agni Kharel of CPN-UML, Ramesh Lekhak of Nepali Congress, Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani of Rastriya Janshakti Party and Chitra Bahadur KC of Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal stressed that the anti-graft body be institutionally strengthened with timely appointment of competent officials.

Dhakal blamed “political instability” for rampant corruption in the country, while Lohani stressed on timely appointment of chief commissioner and commissioners in the anti-graft body.

Appointments in the CIAA have been in limbo for long due to the political parties’ slacking off.

“We cannot control corruption as long as the government continues to appoint persons in anti-corruption body on the basis of favouritism,” Dhakal said, adding that efficiency and competence must be the basis of appointment to CIAA and other public enterprises.

Lekhak said though ratification of the convention would help exchange ideas and seek cooperation on controlling corruption at international level, the state party must strengthen its institutions and formulate appropriate laws before expecting any cooperation from the international community.

KC opined that the political parties must be ready to formulate law that strictly monitor known sources of income of a public official before and after his/her appointment to any public position.

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