On 12 April, some members of the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants which was formed in October 2008 wanted to know how Rs 19.71 billion was spent on the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cantonments over the last seven years. According to the Kathmandu Post, Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat proposed that the committee passed a proposal directing the government to conduct a special auditing of the expenses.
However, the committee, as many believe took a controversial decision. The Post writes:
The committee, comprising representatives of six political parties, adopted a resolution with a soft tone, committing that the Office of the Auditor General will conduct a detailed investigation to see whether the funds were spent legally. It also agreed that the financial discipline maintaining body would recommend the government to publicize its report.
Following the decision, different section of the society has questioned the ability and intention of the leaders who were party to the decision. According to analysts, the decision of the committee is quite misleading and deceptive. Kantipur daily news editor Hari Bahadur Thapa, who has written books on corruption and has extensively covered corruption-related issues in the paper, tweeted:
माओवादी लडाकूको खर्च महालेखा परीक्षकबाट छानविन गर्ने निर्णय भएछ, छानविन त अख्तियारले मात्र गर्छ, महालेखाले लेखापरीक्षण । नाटकको पनि हद हुन्छ—
Hari Bahadur Thapa (@Haribthapa) April 13, 2013
[It has been decided that auditor general will investigate the expense for the Maoist guerrillas. Only the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of the Authority can investigate, the auditor general's office audits. Even a drama has its limitations.]
Corruption has become a common phenomenon in Nepal. It has proliferated in a systematic way. And, the ‘misleading’ decision taken by the Special Committee comprising representatives of six political parties has clearly indicated that financial accountability is a far fetched dram for Nepali people.
Everyone knows that the UCPN (Maoist) misused state coffer and distributed a lot of money to its cadres. The Special Committee, instead of being a watchdog and increasing its vigil, has become a partner in the Maoist crime.
The Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants formally ended the peace process on April 12 by officially concluding the army integration process.
The question here is why did the members of the committee raise such a crucial issue in the last meeting?
I am sure that the members will come up with an excuse that they did not want to disrupt the peace process by raising such a controversial issues. But, such logic is disgusting and stale.
We let the Maoist party to do whatever they wanted in the name of peace process. We pretended as if the Maoists themselves were the victim of the bloody war that they started. We tried to establish that people means Maoist cadres and Maoists mean people in Nepal. Efforts have been made to prove that whatever the Maoist party does is legitimate and what others do is unlawful. But, how long should we tolerate such kind of injustice?
Dr Mahat and all members of the committee should dare to justify their decision to entrust authority of investigation to an unauthorized agency (according to journalist Thapa). Were they not aware of this fact or they simply tried to make people fool? Otherwise, they should admit in public that ‘politics is all about filthy game and we are playing it by openly practicing corruption and bribe.’