PM Oli, Dahal hold meeting over bribery charges against Minister Baskota
February 20, 2020 12:48 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, Feb 20: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and chairperson of the ruling Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a meeting on Thursday morning.
The meeting comes hours after a leaked audio recording of a conversation between Information Minister Gokul Baskota and Swiss Company local agent Bijaya Prakash Mishra made headlines in Nepali media, where the minister is heard bargaining for Rs 700 million in bribe over the procurement of security printing press for the government.
Oli's press advisor Surya Thapa confirmed that the duo chairperson held the meeting. However, he did not divulge the details.
Sources close to PM Oli said that the duo chairperson discussed about the bribery charges against government spokesperson Baskota.
"The spokesperson is currently in Kanchanpur to attend some functions. The chairpersons will further enquire about the bribery charges against him once he comes back to the capital," said that source.
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.