KATHMANDU, Aug 6: More than two years have elapsed since FIFA suspended the then All Nepal Football Association President Ganesh Thapa on charge of corruption.
However, the country's anti-graft body the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority is still reluctant to reopen the case related to Thapa. Thapa's case was put on hold citing lack of evidence before the world football governing body banned him.
Soon after the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee of FIFA imposed a 10-year ban on Thapa and a fine of 20,000 Swiss franks, CIAA officials had vowed to re-probe into the matter. But the anti-graft body is still reluctant to reopen investigation. Thapa has been accused of misusing millions of rupees received for football projects from 2001 to 2012 and bribery.
An audit report of the AFC had revealed that Thapa's son, Gaurav, had received $100,000 in his account from former AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam. Following complaints against Thapa, both the CIAA and parliamentary Public Accounts Committee had investigated into the matter.
A probe panel of the parliamentary committee had revealed that Thapa had misused Rs 580 million during his nearly two-decade long stay in ANFA's helm. The report was also forwarded to the CIAA asking the anti-graft body to investigate into the matter. But the CIAA suspended the investigation and put Thapa's case on hold in September 2014 saying that evidences could not be established to drag him to the court.
Asked why the CIAA is reluctant to reopen the case even though the apex football governing body has booked Thapa over corruption, CIAA Spokesperson Jibraj Koirala said he was not in a position to respond. "Generally, we can reopen cases once new evidences are found over the cases put on hold. It's up to the board. I have no information about it so far," said Spokesperson Koirala.
Lawmaker Ram Hari Khatiwada, who had investigated into the ANFA irregularities as part of the parliamentary probe, said efforts are underway on how to re-investigate into Thapa's wrongdoings.
"We have asked PAC secretary to hold discussion with CIAA secretary and fix the date to summon CIAA commissioners at the committee to discuss over reopening Ganesh Thapa's case," said Khatiwada, expressing dissatisfaction over the anti-graft body's 'faulty' investigation.
"FIFA booked him but our anti-graft body has overlooked such a high-profile corruption case. We have not abandoned this issue, the parliament is taking it up again," said Khatiwada.