Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Special Court verdict on suspended governor's case deferred again
For the fourth consecutive time, the Special Court Wednesday deferred its verdict on corruption case filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of the Authority (CIAA) against suspended governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Bijya Nath Bhattarai.
The court postponed the verdict for 11 days, stating that one of the members of the bench, was on a leave.
The CIAA had moved the court one year back against central bank governor Bhattarai and senior officer Surendra Man Pradhan, charging them with swindling more than Rs 195 million.
On December 29, the Special Court has ordered the Rastra Bank to furnish proof relating to the authenticity of a letter from Sri Lanka-based consulting firm KPMG in a corruption case against the duo.
The tribunal had issued a similar order on December 14.
NRB replied saying it was unable to verify the authenticity of the document since it had no such correspondence with the firm. However, the court was not satisfied with the reply and has issued the same order today, but with a shorter deadline. It has asked the central bank to respond within three days. The verdict in the case has already been deferred thrice.
The central bank has maintained that as it is the CIAA which obtained the letter from the consulting firm and filed the case against the governor, it should be asked to furnish proof of the authenticity of the letter.
In the letter dated June 18, 2007, the Sri Lanka-based firm had stated that it had not "authorized" its officials S.V. Bhardhoj and A.N Fernando to sign a consulting agreement with the central bank on February 6, 2006.
The CIAA has accused Bhattarai and Surendra Man Pradhan of causing a loss amounting to Rs 24.5 million to the public exchequer by not claiming compensation after terminating the consulting agreement unilaterally.
The judges of the court are divided regarding the need to establish the authenticity of the letter. Tribunal chairman Bhoop Dhoj Adhikari ruled that there was no need to verify the letter for deciding the case while two members of the court - Komal Nath Sharma and Cholendra SJB Rana - maintained that the authenticity of the document needed to be verified before handing down the verdict.

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