Defense Secretary Sharma under CIAA scanner for allegedly holding foreign permanent residency card

Published On: June 19, 2024 01:40 PM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, June 19: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has initiated an investigation against Defense Secretary Kiran Raj Sharma over allegations of holding a foreign Permanent Residency (PR) card.

According to high-level sources, Sharma, a high-ranking official in a sensitive government ministry, is suspected of possessing a US PR. This prompted the CIAA to launch the investigation.

Following its directive to the government to investigate whether Members of Parliament (MPs), civil servants, and public office holders possess foreign citizenship or PR, the CIAA initiated its own internal investigation to address these concerns.

Sharma admitted that he once had a US PR but claimed he had given it up. "Yes, I had US PR but now I have given it up," he told Republica. However, he refused to provide proof. 

Sharma has been the Defense Secretary since January 17, 2022, and has remained in the same position even when other secretaries have been transferred.

The CIAA has directed Chief Secretary Dr Baikuntha Aryal to investigate the foreign citizenship and PR status of persons holding public positions.

Two weeks after writing the letter to the chief secretary, CIAA Secretary Rameshwar Dangal inquired about the letter with Krishna Hari Pushkar, secretary at the Prime Minister's Office. Pushkar was unable to trace the letter initially. It was only found after a thorough search by the CIAA. Since then, the government has sent letters to investigate the foreign citizenship and PR status of public officials at all levels. 

This is not the first time that the government is investigating this matter. Earlier, the government had launched an investigation into the PR status of numerous government secretaries, joint secretaries, and officers in 2013.

Since then, the issue had not resurfaced until recently. The anti-graft body instructed the government to investigate the issue after receiving complaints that many government appointees had obtained foreign PRs. Bikal Paudel, director general of Security Printing Center, was found to hold a US PR.

Following the CIAA’s directive, Prakash Bahadur Shahi, CEO of Nalgad Hydropower Company, resigned on June 10 to avoid prosecution due to his PR status. Shahi, a permanent resident of Jajarkot, was appointed on May 16 and resigned within 25 days, having obtained Australian PR.

On September 17, 2013, the government sent a letter to all ministries, commissions, secretariats, and various offices, instructing them to provide details of employees who have obtained Diversity Visa (DV) and Permanent Residency (PR) status. 

More than 60 employees holding DV or PR status resigned at that time. Civil servants are prohibited from obtaining foreign citizenship, DV, or PR. The law stipulates that an employee can be dismissed even for applying for DV or PR. For those who acquired DV or PR before employment, a provision requires them to declare their choice between the two within 30 days. Such employees must submit an application stating their willingness to give up either their DV/PR or their job. Additionally, employees must inform the government if their spouse holds PR.

This latest round of correspondence was prompted by complaints that government employees, general managers of public organizations, and executive chairpersons had obtained foreign citizenships and PRs.

According to CIAA sources, after receiving complaints that some current secretaries have obtained foreign citizenship and Permanent Residency (PR), the anti-graft body requested an investigation into high-level officials in all agencies, including ministers, parliamentarians, and public office holders.

The government is concerned about the appointment of individuals to public positions without proper verification of their foreign citizenship or PR status. The CIAA has alerted the government about difficulties in investigations due to inadequate checks by government agencies.

To address these concerns, the CIAA is working to gather details and request information from respective countries about suspected individuals. The authority has warned the government to establish and implement standards, procedures, and guidelines to prevent those with foreign citizenship and PR from being appointed to public positions.

When proposing appointments, individuals must submit a self-declaration confirming their foreign citizenship or PR status.


Leave A Comment