KATHMANDU, Feb 23: The Special Court slapped a seven-year jail term on former chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Subash Niraula on Thursday, for embezzlement at the country's tourism promotional body through the submission of fake bills.
Issuing the verdict in a case filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the three-member bench of the Special Court ordered Niraula to pay the embezzled amount of Rs 8.05 million and a fine of Rs 5.4 million. The bench included Baburam Regmi as chairman and Judges Dwarika Nath Joshi and Narayan Prasad Pokherel
The state anti-graft body had filed cases against 23 different officials of NTB including Niraula on April 3, 2015.
Likewise, the court has slapped a six-year jail term and a Rs 5.02 million fine on chief accountant Anil Kumar Das of NTB, and a Rs 154,224 fine on Mahendra Khanal of World Wide Asian Travel and Tours. Out of the 23 defendants, 20 officials including three government secretaries have been acquitted.
The anti-graft body had filed the cases against the 23 officials on the charge of embezzling Rs 1.39 billion in procurements and other expenses for the office. Niroula was released on a Rs 30 million bail in 2016.
According to the Special Court, three of the 10 major charges of embezzlement against the three officials have been proved during investigations and court hearings. They were accused of misusing the NTB budget through the submission of fake bills for various office accessories, vehicle hires, alcohol purchase, travel and foreign trips, including through the receipt of money from the office for private and family trips outside the country.
The court has stated that accusations of fake bills for liquor procurement, expenditures on private foreign trips and fake plane tickets for such trips have been substantiated.
Niraula alone has been slapped with a Rs 138,334 fine for spurious bills for liquor procurement.
Those acquitted include former government secretaries Sarad Chandra Paudel, Ranjan Krishna Aryal and Sushil Ghimire.
Earlier also, Parliament's Public Accounts Committee had directed that Niraula be suspended, concluding that there was corruption at the NTB. Following the direction, Niraula was suspended from his post.