Kathmandu: In an
unprecedented move, Nepal's top police officials, disgraced in a
UN security equipment sale scandal, are lobbying for action
against politicians, deepening the wedge between cops and their
Fifteen senior police officials, some of whom are retired and some
suspended, Monday knocked on the door of the chief of a
parliamentary committee, saying they were framed and seeking
action against former ministers and their accomplices in the
The cops' campaign started last week after a commission charged 36
people, including 34 top police officials, with corruption in a
procurement deal that cost Nepal, one of the poorest nations in
the world, a loss of over NRS 288 million and put the lives of
hundreds of Nepali policemen at risk.
The tainted deal goes back to 2007-08 when the then Girija Prasad
Koirala government bought armoured personnel carriers from a
London-based company, Assured Risk, for use by Nepali policemen
serving with the UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Darfur region of
The carriers were found to be substandard by the UN and ruled out
for use. The ensuing hue and cry forced Nepal's government to
conduct an inquiry that found the then home minister Krishna
Prasad Sitaula to be involved in the tainted deal.
After trying to sweep the scam under the carpet for months, the
government was finally compelled to take action this month.
However, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority
charged only 34 police officials and two civilians with
corruption, failing to touch Sitaula, a senior leader of the
opposition Nepali Congress party, and his two successors.
The 34 indicted police officials include three former police
chiefs, one of whom became the prime minister's security advisor,
and 24 serving officials, who were suspended.
This has triggered chaos in the police department, with morale
hitting an all-time low. Many suspended officials say they did not
know what was happening but were made to sign documents blindly by
Sitaula denies any involvement in the tainted deal; so does the
then home secretary Umesh Mainali.
This has enraged the suspended police officials who Monday told
parliamentary committee chief Ramnath Dhakal that it was
inconceivable that the home minister had no knowledge of the deal
or hand in it.
If found guilty, the indicted officials face up to 13 years in
prison and hefty fines to recover the embezzled sum from them.
Besides the cops, the commission has also charged Assured Risk and
its local agent in Kathmandu, a Nepali national named Shambhu
Bharati. Assured Risk denies that its vehicles were substandard,
instead accusing Nepali officials of causing them damage due to
The Sudan scam exposes like never before the criminalization of
politics in Nepal with politicians and their associates remaining
Currently, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal himself is accused of
sheltering a party member who ordered a murderous attack on a
journalist in eastern Nepal.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)