Investigation by parliamentary probe committee may be affected

Published On: July 22, 2022 12:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Experts suggest that the parliamentary committee should also study with the help of technology outside the government system, as the executive may destroy evidence while investigating matters related to itself.

KATHMANDU, July 22: The time period of the parliamentary special committee formed to investigate the fact that the then finance minister allowed unauthorized persons to enter the ministry while preparing the budget for the financial year 2022/23 has been extended by a week. The initial deadline of the committee expired on Thursday.

The committee demanded more time and proposed an extension of the deadline. Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota's proposal to extend the committee’s deadline by one week in Thursday’s meeting of the House of Representatives was unanimously approved.

The committee also took a statement from the then Finance Minister Sharma on Thursday. Sharma said that the right to change the tax rates belongs to the finance minister and he has changed them according to the rules.

The committee has not yet found any evidence to confirm that the then finance minister Sharma allowed unauthorized persons to enter the ministry on the night of May 28.

Finance Secretary Madhu Marasini became emotional for a while stating that the budget was in the interest of the country. Sources said that there was no fundamental difference in the statement given by the finance minister and the staff. If the CCTV is recovered, if no unauthorized person entered the Ministry of Finance, the investigation will be concluded. But sources say that if the CCTV can’t be recovered, then the call details of people connected with the then finance minister Sharma can also be studied.

The parliamentary committee does not have its own lab. Therefore, the committee has to rely on the executive. The issue is also linked to the ruling five-party alliance. As a result, the members of the UML have become suspicious that the truth will not be revealed.

During the discussion on the budget in the House, the main opposition UML accused the finance minister of involving unauthorized persons in changing the tax rates and thus breaching the confidentiality of the budget and demanded the formation of a parliamentary committee to find out the truth along with the resignation of the then Finance Minister Sharma. Sharma resigned as Finance Minister on July 6 after the UML continuously demanded his resignation. On the same day, a parliamentary inquiry special committee was also formed by the House of Representatives to probe the matter.


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