´CIAA is not against development´
KATHMANDU, Nov 6: Chief Commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lokman Singh Karki has clarified that he is not against development and has no intention of trampling on the authority of the government.
Parliament´s Finance Committee had invited Karki to clarifying why the CIAA issued a directive to scrap the survey licenses of Kabeli A and other projects without taking into consideration their project status and the importance of foreign investment.
Speaking at the Finance Committee on Tuesday, Karki claimed that there was no directive to the Ministry of Energy to scrap any licenses but only correspondence with it as per Article 120 (5) of the Interim Constitution 2007 to remind the ministry of necessary action regarding those projects.
“CIAA wants to discourage the trend of some developers occupying rivers for they also have to abide by the laws,” added Karki. He further said that the Kabeli A project developer was to have completed its Power Purchase Agreement and Financial Closure by the deadline of August 21 but it had not done so. He said he had no idea who the developers were on the basis of the files received from the Department of Electricity Development.
Kabeli A is being developed with financing from the World Bank and the IFC, the bank´s private sector wing. On Sunday Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat had told the committee that the World Bank had come here to invest in the hydropower sector after the failure of Arun III two decades ago and it should not be discouraged. Discouraging hydropower development and creating hurdles is suicidal as the country is becoming a net importer of energy, he said.
´WE ARE WATCHDOG, NOT BITING DOG´
Responding to lawmakers´ questions whether the anti-graft body had trampled on the authority of the government, CIAA chief Karki made it clear the CIAA had no intention of doing that.
Upon being told by lawmaker and former finance minister Surendra Pandey that the CIAA has behaving like a biting dog rather than a watchdog; Karki said it was only ´a watchdog and not a biting dog´. Pandey had said the CIAA only had authority to investigate cases of corruption by officials in public posts and not to dictate to the government over matters of developmental action.
Lawmaker Chandra Kanta Bhandari asked Karki to consider the fallout of any decisions and directives emanating from the CIAA. He also suggested focusing on larger issues instead of on petty ones. Likewise, lawmaker Shakti Bahadur Basnet said the CIAA should focus on its brief while discharging its duty.
Lawmakers had spoken about how the CIAA´s directive created panic among government employees and how in several cases developmental activities had been delayed or consigned to indecision. The CIAA chief also urged the establishing of a practice of only a single parliamentary committee – Good Governance and Monitoring Committee – asking the CIAA to furnish details.
Different committees have recently summoned the CIAA to furnish details on different issues.
The lawmakers discussed the CIAA after Karki left the committee following a brief question-answer session. Committee chief Prakash Jwala said they will again hold discussions with Finance Minister Mahat, Energy Minister Radha Gyawali and other officials of their ministries at the next meeting to reach a decision on the issue. Though both the ministers were invited to the meeting on Wednesday they were absent.
Source : Republica