Monday, January 7, 2019

CIAA files graft case filed against former NOC chief Khadka

The anti-graft body today filed a corruption case at the Special Court against former Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) managing director Gopal Bahadur Khadka on charge of amassing illegal property worth Rs186.58 million.
The anti-graft body also made his wife Sharmila and another woman Amita Lama Sodemba, defendants in the case. "Khadka’s valid income was Rs 86.5 million but his expenditure and investment was worth Rs 273.08 million," a press note from the anti-graft body reads.
According to the press note, "Khadka earned a total salary of Rs 4.06 million since 15 March 2013 – when the probe began – but he made Rs 5.88 million from the sale of land, besides receiving Rs 2.92 million as gratuity and other benefits when he quit government service."
Likewise, he received Rs 1.5 million in the form of pension, the release reads, adding that he had a balance of Rs 27.15 million in more than 55 banks and banking institutions. "Khadka made a payment of Rs 18.02 million to different department stores through bank ATM cards."
During the probe period, Khadka also bought three houses, though he already has an ancestral house. He also made partial payments for two other houses and also bought 11 plots in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kavreplanchowk district, the CIAA has claimed. "Khadka kept property worth more than 70 million in the name of Amita Lama Sodemba, a resident of Budhanilkantha Municipality’s Ward No 4.
According to the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), it is one of the largest corruption cases related to illegal property in the country.
CIAA spokesperson Rameshwor Dangal – confirming that the anti graft body has moved the court against Khadka – said that the constitutional body has also been conducting a separate probe into Khadka's involvement in alleged corruption in purchase of land by the NOC. Under the supervision of Khadka, NOC was found to have purchased plots of land at a much higher cost than the prevalent market rates in Jhapa, Sarlahi, Chitwan and Rupandehi districts. "In fact, NOC paid up to four times more for plots in these areas compared to the government valuation of the plots."
The probe conducted by parliamentary committees under the previous parliament had claimed that there had been irregularity of a minimum of Rs 1.26 billion in the land purchased by the state-owned oil monopoly.
According to the Dangal, the CIAA probe revealed that Khadka not only earned illegal property but was also found to have hidden the property worth Rs 70 million in the name of other people. "The anti-graft body also confiscated the 'good for payment' cheque for Rs 8.98 million Khadka had issued to make advance payment to purchase a land in Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu."
Dangal said that the anti-graft body has demanded confiscation of his disproportionate assets kept in the name of Amita Lama Sodemba and his wife also.
According to CIAA press note, Khadka purchased a house in the name of Amita Lama Sodemba at CG Hills in Hatigauda, Kathmandu, for Rs 32.5 million and eight ana land in her name at Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, for Rs 40.12 million. He has also purchased a vehicle in her name.
Khadka had also made a payment of Rs 30.50 million to buy another house in the name of Amita Lama Sodemba at old Mahankal VDC’s Ward No 4. "Khadka used to operate bank accounts held by Sodemba at NMB and Citizens Bank," it added.
Since his appointment to the top NOC post in January 2015, Khadka had been involved in several controversies. He was accused of awarding petroleum supply licence to a controversial private company – Birat Birat Petroleum – while the country was witnessing acute fuel shortage following border obstructions in 2015-16. He was also accused of arbitrarily distributing licences to open fuel stations across the country.
The government sacked Khadka from the post of NOC managing director on September 18 after he was accused of irregularities.

No comments: