Nepal to provide details of 6 Nepalis accused in polymer note scam to Australian govt

Published On: August 16, 2016 05:11 PM NPT By: Deepak Kharel

KATHMANDU, Aug 16: With the legal hurdles removed, the government has decided to send the details of three companies including six Nepali nationals accused by Australia in the polymer note case.

Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Law is sending the details of bank accounts, professional regulations, business and travel details of the three companies and six persons including Himalaya Bahadur Pandey, Ramarajya Laxmi Pandey, Prithvi Bahadur Pandey, Upendra Keshari Paudel, Keshav Khatri and Tilak Rawal to Australia.

Three companies - Melkhor Pvt. Ltd., Global Group Pvt. Ltd and Super Three Stars Group Pvt. Ltd have been implicated in the polymer note case.

The Australian government initiated investigation into the case following a report in The Sydney Morning Herald that Himalayan Pandey, a Nepali citizen, working for the Note Printing Australia bribed Nepali top-notch officials including a politician and an officer of the Central Bank of Nepal.

The Corruption and Crime Commission of Australia had entrusted the Australia Federal Police to investigate the case.

Australian police have already taken action against John Lekan Vey, Peter Hatchion, Britty Breddy, Steven Ong Bhrehen Kalpej and Daniel Red after the latter were found guilty.

According to the Law Ministry, the details will be collected from immigration department, Nepal Rastra Bank, Office of the Company Registrar as per the Mutual Legal Assistance Act 2014 and sent them to Australia.

On March 10, 2014, Australian government had asked for details alleging that the accused had taken 10 percent commission for printing 50 million polymer notes of Rs 10 denomination for negotiating tender.

Nepal Rastra Bank had given permission to an Australian company, Note Printing Australia, for printing polymer notes in the fiscal year 2058-59 BS.

The preliminary investigation of the Corruption and Crime Commission showed that the accused Nepali agents including the then Governor Tilak Rawal and chief of Note Department Upendra Keshari Paudel had taken bribes for negotiating contract with the Australian company on the condition that the Nepal government would allow to print polymer notes of Rs 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 gradually after notes of Rs 10 denomination.  

As soon as the Ministry of Law sought details from the concerned body, Prithvi Bahadur Pandey and Himalayan Pandey had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court citing the right to privacy and the Banks and Financial Institutions Act.  

The SC had ruled that the case related to polymer note scam filed by Prithvi Bahadur Pandey would be annulled saying that the case was filed against the advice of the district court.

On Sunday, a joint bench of Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada heard the case saying that the writ petition would be annulled.

Law Secretary Tek Prasad Dhungana said preparations are underway to send the details to the Australian government in accordance with the existing law of Nepal. 


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