KATHMANDU, Feb 20: In a leaked audio recording of a conversation between Information Minister Gokul Baskota and Swiss Company local agent Bijaya Prakash Mishra, the minister is heard bargaining for Rs 700 million in bribe over the procurement of security printing press for the government.
In the two minutes 31 seconds audio recording received by Republica, local agent Mishra tells the minister that the Swiss Embassy representatives will come to the minister's office at 12 pm coming Monday (Feb 23) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the procurement of the security printing press for the government.
During their brief conversation, the local agent of the Swiss company is heard assuring the minister that he will get the shares of the commission once the deal is done. The local agent says a total of 700 million will be divided on a ratio of 30:70. “You will get 70%,” the agent tells Minister Baskota.
When contacted, agent Mishra says Minister Baskota initially asked for 2 billion rupees as bribe. Minister Bskota’s mobile is switched off.
Here is the complete audio conversation:
Mishra: They will come to the Swiss Embassy after 12 on February 23. The embassy called. They won’t come if you guys call them.
Minister Baskota: Hmm..
Mishra: They want to make sure that we have MOU ready.
Minister Baskota: Hmm..
Mishra: The Swiss ambassador wants to talk about this separately.
(Minister interjects): Okay
Mishra: Yes, that’s why you should be available during that time.
Minister Baskota:Yes. Will do. Should we opt for out-of-track or should we go like you said?
Minister Baskota: Now
Mishra interjects: I have tabled this.
Minister Baskota: About capacity...
Mishra: Yes, I have talked to them about this..
Minister Baskota: They said 50 under normal circumstances..?
Mishra interjects: Yes..
Minister Baskota: How much was it proposed earlier?
Mishra: The total comes in percentage. You know?
Minister Baskota: How much will it come in total. Lets see that?
Mishra: Something is happening. We should go with that base..They said others have the same range...It would have been enough if it was little more than theirs...The base will be like you said.. No problem with that..
Minister Baskota: I feel like if we can have it around 25, 27 billion, and say its 25 billion; how much will we get?
Mishra: Not around 700 million..If we opt for out of..like ..it will be around 600 to 700 million?
Minister Baskota: WHat about you? You will receive separately?
Mishra: Total will be around 740..that’s our estimate.
Minister Baskota: 74, 75
Mishra: In this… it’s 30:70. You get 50% and we keep 30%. Ours is a very transparent process.
Minister Baskota: How much will it be in that case?
Mishra: You get 540, 550 million, we get 150, 160 million if we go out-of-track...
Minister Baskota: You and we …(audio not clear)
Mishra: You do all this
Minister Baskota: WHat you should know is that if we go with the f**** bureaucrats, they won’t respond. Got it?
Mishra: Yes, yes.. Let’s not even tell the secretary
Mishra: Okay, then should I do it?
Minister Baskota: Should bring one estimate also..
Mishra: He has almost done that …
Minister Baskota: That f*** has it for 35 billion. If ours is 27 billion.. then make it 28 billion.