Sunday, January 13, 2008

Verdict on suspended central bank governor’s case deferred again
For the fifth time in a row, the Special Court on Sunday deferred the verdict on the corruption case filed against the suspended Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) governor Bijay Nath Bhattarai by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of the Authority.
The court put off the verdict, lack of evidence after the central bank failed to furnish proof relating to the authenticity of a letter from Sri Lanka-based consulting firm KPMG in a corruption case against suspended Governor Bhattarai and another NRB official, Surendra Man Pradhan.
The next date for the verdict has been fixed on January 28.
The court has also decided to send a letter to KPMG after the KPMG stated that it would provide the authenticity of its letter to either the court or the CIAA, and not to the central bank.
Division bench of judges Cholendra SJB Rana and Komal Nath Sharma today stated that the court will give the verdict in the case after the KPMG replies to the court’s letter.
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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