Why have PM Deuba and his ministers not disclosed their property details?

Published On: September 6, 2022 12:31 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Even after 14 months of the formation of the Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government, neither the prime minister nor his ministers have disclosed their property details. Nine ministers of the Deuba government have left without publicizing their property details.

The then two ministers of the Deuba government - Minendra Rijal and Gajendra Hamal - resigned themselves, while on June 26, 2022, when the Cabinet was reshuffled, seven ministers left and eight new ones from the CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) were inducted into the Cabinet. Be it the retired minister or the incumbent ones, no one has disclosed their assets.

Mahadev Panth, spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), said that the property details of the Prime Minister and all ministers have been received. "But according to the law, we have kept the property details confidential," he said. When asked whether the Council of Ministers can make a decision to make the property details public, he said, "I don't know about it, but the details are kept confidential according to the law."

Former chief secretary Dr Bimal Koirala said, "The law does not say whether the property details should be made public or not. It is a matter of ethics and morality whether to make it public or not.”

In the website of the OPMCM, it has been stated that the property details of 24 ministers including the Prime Minister have been received.

Section 31 of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Act, 2048 stipulates that the prime minister and the ministers must submit their property statement to the specified body within 60 days of assuming office and then within 60 days of the end of the financial year. According to this provision of the Act, although it is claimed that the property details of the ministers have been submitted to the OPMCM, it has not been made public.

After the 2046 movement, the first government formed under the leadership of Girija Prasad Koirala made the first decision that “the prime minister and ministers should publish their property details within 15 days of taking office”, at that time Deuba was the home minister. As a Home Minister, he had made his property details public.

Although all the governments formed after that made their property details public, the members of the government formed under the leadership of Khilraj Regmi in 2013 did not publicize their property details. "Among the prime ministers and ministers of the government formed after the Regmi government, some made their property details public, some did not," said former chief secretary Koirala.

In the year 2017, property details of Oli and other ministers in the government formed under the leadership of KP Sharma Oli were made public.

The then Law Minister Sher Bahadur Tamang had made his property details public himself. Although the ministers who were initially appointed in the Oli government made it public, those who were added later left without making the details public.

During the Oli government, a notice was published in the gazette on July 4, 2018, stating that 'the Prime Minister, ministers, ministers of state should submit their property details to the OPMCM. However, there was no mention in the gazette about the public disclosure of property details submitted to the OPMCM.

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