Powerful head of Nepal’s anti-graft watchdog faces impeachment
Lokman Singh Karki, the powerful head of Nepal’s constitutional anti-graft watchdog, was suspended from his position following the registration of an impeachment motion against him in Parliament.world Updated: Oct 20, 2016 22:53 IST
Lokman Singh Karki, the powerful head of Nepal’s constitutional anti-graft watchdog, was suspended from his position following the registration of an impeachment motion against him in Parliament.
Karki, considered one of the most powerful and influential figures in Nepal’s state mechanism, was accused by lawmakers of running a “parallel government” and abusing his powers as chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).
Deep Basnyat, the senior-most commissioner of the CIAA, took charge as acting chief of the body on Thursday, CIAA spokesperson Ganesh Raj Karki said.
After 157 lawmakers jointly registered the impeachment motion on Wednesday, Karki was automatically suspended from his position. Karki had just returned from a month-long holiday in Canada.
The impeachment motion was supported by the three major political parties – the Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Center and main opposition CPN-UML. According to the Constitution, one-fourth of the total number of members of the House of Representatives can move an impeachment motion against the head of a constitutional body on the ground of serious violation of the constitution and law.
Karki was appointed head of the CIAA in 2013 by the then technocrat government on the recommendation of the three major political parties. The position is considered one of the most important among constitutional bodies as the CIAA has sweeping powers to control corruption.
Though Karki was considered a controversial and tainted bureaucrat, media reports at the time had suggested that the political parties had recommended him under pressure from “some foreign forces”.
The process of impeachment was expedited after Karki, who was one of the top civil servants under the former royal regime until 2006, expedited corruption cases against top Maoist leaders.
Political parties and lawmakers accused Karki of abusing his powers, harassing top politicians, bureaucrats and others in the name of investigating corruption, running a “parallel government” through the CIAA, and refusing to attend the meetings of parliamentary panels.
After a case was registered in the Supreme Court challenging Karki’s qualification to head the CIAA, he refused to receive a notice issued by the court. The court described this as a serious violation of the code of conduct and an offence against the court.