Questions have been raised as to whether Commissioner at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Raj Narayan Pathak will be punished after he resigned on Friday following allegations of corruption.
Nepalkhabar news portal had published a news report about a video of Pathak taking bribe from promoter of Nepal Engineering College located at Changu Narayan, Bhaktapur Wednesday evening.
Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli, CIAA Chief Commissioner Navin Kumar Ghimire, deputy parliamentary party leader of the ruling CPN Subas Chandra Nembang and Attorney General Agni Kharel had reportedly watched the video four months ago but they sat on the smoking gun for four months and did not initiate any action against him.
CPN started preparations for registering impeachment motion on Thursday once the news report was published. Pathak resigned to the president on Friday after news reports about impeachment were published.
It is now up to the CIAA to take additional action against Pathak. Additional investigations should be done against Pathak if the CIAA were to fulfill its constitutional and legal responsibilities.
Article 239(2) of the constitution states that the CIAA can conduct investigations against the office-bearers that can be dismissed after impeachment. The next clause of the same article states that CIAA can file a court case if the impeachable office-bearer following investigations is found to have committed corruption.
Promoter Lambodar Neupane was trying to privatize public properties worth Rs 1.50 billion handed over to the college by the then Changu Narayan VDC. The issue came to the fore when the promoters themselves started to bicker.
The CIAA can initiate investigation limited to the issue, and Pathak can be jailed for 9-11 years if the corruption charge is established in the court.
Any office-bearer who takes bribe of Rs 5-10 million is liable for a jail term of 6-8 years, and should pay the claim amount and a fine equal to the claim amount, as per the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002. But the offender will get an additional three-year sentence if the person is an office-bearer at constitutional bodies appointed by the president.
If the CIAA does not take additional action against Pathak anyone can move the Supreme Court requesting an investigation against Pathak citing the corruption allegations, according to an officer at the Office of the Attorney General.