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Impeachment Of CIAA Chief

Issue November 2016

Impeachment Of CIAA Chief

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


CPN-UML and Maoist-Center lawmakers have jointly and suddenly submitted an impeachment proposal against the Chief Commissioner of Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Mr. Lokman Singh Karki for not accepting the subpoena the Supreme Court of Nepal has served him, and then not even allowing the messenger of the Supreme Court to post the subpoena on the gate of his residence for a month, for not showing up at the parliamentary committee dishonoring its subpoena, and for disregarding the legal provisions, according to the local media. Some media reports say that the CIAA chief opening the corruption cases against the CPN-UML and Maoist-Center lawmakers have panicked them, and they rushed to impeach them without even hinting to the NC leaders at it making it a complete surprise to NC leaders. However, the spokesman for the CIAA has denied any corruption case against any politician. Almost all political parties have committed to support the impeachment proposal. The impeachment is the vivid example of the enforcement of the new constitution. Lokman is the product of the then President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and the then Chairman of Council of Ministers Mr. Khil Raj Regmi in absence of the parliament.


A lawsuit filed against the legality of the appointment of Lokman at the Supreme Court of Nepal has been under consideration. The Court issued a subpoena compelling Lokman to appear at the Court but he did not accept it. The Court messenger has to return without serving the subpoena. Then, the Court ordered the messenger to post the subpoena at the gate of his residence in the presence of the official of the local administration. Both the local administration official and the Court messenger reported that they could not post the subpoena because the Lokman’s folks intervened to do so. The Court ordered the messenger and the local administration official to post the subpoena at any cost otherwise they would need to face the Court’s actions. Ultimately, the court messenger and the local administration official posted the subpoena at the gate of the Lokman’s residence. Now, Lokman needs to decide whether he would show up at the Court or face the actions of the Court in his absence.


Speaking to the anchor of the Radio Nepal morning program called “antar-sambad” on October 26, 2016, the coordinator of the Impeachment Recommendation Study Committee (IRSC) Mr. Ramnarayan Bidari said that Lokman needed to accept the subpoena in person or let his family members or somebody working at his home accept it but he tried to bully even the Supreme Court not accepting the subpoena. Concerning the document of the Lokman’s appointment the Supreme Court had asked for, Lokman himself needed to submit the document but he tried to avoid submitting the document. Coordinator Bidari also said that about three years ago, Lokman was appointed on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council on which the prime minister, the opposition leader, the speaker and the chief justice sit. At that time, Sushil Koirala was the prime minister, Prachanda was the opposition leader, Speaker was Subash Nemwang, and Chief Justice was Ram Prasad Shrestha? Then, the Supreme Court had said that the appointment of Lokman to the CIAA was according to the law, Coordinator Bidari said.


NC leaders were at a loss for what line to take on the impeachment of Lokman. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba has brushed off the impeachment saying the case of appointment of Lokman has been under consideration at the Supreme Court why the parliament needs to take up the impeachment. However, at the Central Working Committee meeting held on October 20, 2016, NC President Deuba has said that the impeachment motion would move ahead following the parliamentary regulations; however, it would have been better if the motion had been forwarded after consulting with the major parties, the news in stated on October 21, 2016.


Deuba has said that Prime Minister Prachanda, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and he have discussed the impeachment motion but they have not made any formal decision on registering it at the parliament. “Oli proposed the impeachment motion but the PM had expressed his ignorance about it. So, I proposed that it would be better to register the motion after consultation,” NC CWC member Dilendra Badu quoted Deuba as saying in the meeting. Deputy Prime Minister also the NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi said at the meeting of top leaders held on Wednesday, October 19 that Prime Minister Prachanda told him that he had no idea about the motion. “However, it is a matter that needs to be pondered over as the Maoist Center’s leaders and its ministers immediately registered impeachment motion at the Parliament Secretariat,” Badu quoted Nidhi as saying. “The process has started and accusations against Karki will be discussed. It will be concluded. The NC won’t say no to it,” said Nidhi, according to the news on on October 22, 2016.


At the CWC meeting held on October 20, 2016, NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula has said that the NC needs to support the motion the ruling Maoist Center has registered at the parliament secretariat. He also has warned of the current coalition government facing the risk of falling if the NC develops a conflict with the Maoist Center. He, however, disappointed at the party leadership missing the impeachment motion on the agenda at the meeting, the news on stated on October 22, 2016.


One political leader after another has cancelled their foreign trip obviously for taking up the issue of the impeachment of the CIAA chief Lokman.


CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli was scheduled to fly to Dhaka: the capital of Bangladesh on October 22, 2016 to attend the 20th National Council of the ruling Awami League but he cancelled it in view of the latest political development in the country after the impeachment motion registered at the Legislature-Parliament against CIAA Chief Lokman, the news on stated on October 23, 2016.


The latest political development has aborted the Speaker Onsari Gharti’s weeklong visit to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly along with office bearers of Parliament Secretariat and the chief whips of NC, CPN-UML and Maoist Center. The termination of her visit has been due to the filing of an impeachment motion against CIAA Chief Lokman at the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, the news on stated.


The unexpected impeachment motion brought the House meeting to a halt. Speaker Onsari Gharti postponed the Legislature-Parliament meeting scheduled for October 20, 2016 for 11:00 am Sunday, October 23 to make room for the ongoing debate on the impeachment motion against CIAA Chief Lokman registered at the parliament secretariat on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. As many as 157 Maoist-Center and CPN-UML lawmakers have signed up the motion against CIAA Chief Commissioner Karki and submitted it to the Legislature-Parliament, the news on stated. Those 157 lawmakers included 107 CPN-UML and 50 Maoist-Center lawmakers.


On the second day of its Central Working Committee meeting on October 21, 2016, NC General Secretary Shashanka Koirala and CWC member Shekhar Koirala have said that the impeachment motion could be a ploy to form a left coalition government, as it is done without even hinting at it not to mention consulting with the NC. “There are questions like if it is not a bid to form the leftist government,” Shekhar told reporters after the meeting, “Who knows what the Maoists are doing?” “It is purely an alliance of the UML and the Maoists,” he added. Another NC leader NP Saud told the BBC Nepali Service that it could be an attempt to split the current NC-Maoist alliance and form a new one. Other NC leaders such as Health Minister Gagan Thapa, Dhana Raj Gurung and Pradeep Paudel have been lobbying for the impeachment motion against Lokman. On Thursday, October 20, 2016, Gagan Thapa said that the impeachment motion could be an opportunity of the NC to correct the past mistakes and hence the party should stand firm against Lokman, the news on stated.


On Saturday, October 22, 2016, Former Prime Minister also the current Coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal: Dr Baburam Bhattarai compared the suspended CIAA Chief Lokman to a stray bull. Speaking at a press meet held in Gorkha, Dr Bhattarai said, “Lokman refused the court’s order and decline to be present at the parliamentary committee just like a bull straying in a narrow alley of Kathmandu. Filing an impeachment motion against him was a normal step.” The former Prime Minister said that the anti-graft body failed to become a sovereign body as a person dear to leaders appointed as its Chief, the news on stated on October 22, 2016.


At the Parliamentary Party meeting held at Nayabaneshwor, Kathmandu on October 22, 2016, Chairman of Maoist-Center also Prime Minister Prachanda asked the Maoist lawmakers to back the impeachment motion against Lokman. Prachanda told the meeting that he had been in consultation with the leaders of other political parties including NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba on this matter, the RSS news on stated.


“Solidarity For Dr KC Alliance” held a demonstration procession with a placard “Bye Lokman, Life To CIAA” from Maitighar to Nayabanesvor in Kathmandu, and held a rally there on Saturday, October 22, 2016. At the rally, Dr Govinda KC said that NC needed to support the impeachment against Lokman rather than going with him. At the same rally, NC leader Surendra Chaudhary said that NC also would vote for the impeachment against Lokman, the news in “gorkhapatra” on October 23, 2016 stated. Dr KC had a number of times sat for the fast-unto-death demanding many things including the impeachment against Lokman.


Representatives of 13 student unions met with NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba at his Narayanthan residence in Kathmandu on Sunday, October 23, 2016, and urged him to support the impeachment motion registered at the Parliament Secretariat against Lokman, the RSS news posted on stated on October 23, 2016. Responding to the students, NC President Deuba committed to play his role in making the State and people’s sovereign rights honored, the news quoted “All Nepal Free Students Union Secretary” RC Lamichhane. The students are to hold a rally at Nayabaneshwor on October 23, 2016 as a pressure campaign for the impeachment of Lokman.


A group of students representing various students’ unions went to the residence of former Prime Minister KP Oli and submitted a memo demanding to pass the impeachment motion, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated on October 23, 2016. To the query of the students whether the impeachment proposal was a ploy to tear down the government, Oli said that it was rather a ploy against ploy of the CIAA chief to run a parallel government even threatening the State officials to involve them in corruption cases. He also said that the parliament has not a reverse gear; so, the impeachment motion would go ahead. He also said that an impeachment proposal was brought to his cabinet, too; he had discussed it with other political leaders a number of times in the past, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated.


Gorkhapatra of October 24, 2016 stated that Speaker Onsari Gharti has set the 3:00 pm on Tuesday, October 25 to start off discussing the impeachment proposal against CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki. It was set for Sunday to discuss the impeachment proposal but it was postponed for two days following the request of NC, as NC has been having the central committee meeting, and requested the Speaker to discuss the impeachment after the Central committee meeting of NC.


NC has urged the Speaker to postpone the impeachment discussion for two days and then start off on Wednesday but the Constitution and the parliamentary procedure rules did not permit her as the impeachment process has to start off after a week from the date of the registration of the proposal; so, it has to be done on Tuesday, the Speaker stated.


After one-or-two-day discussion at the parliament, the impeachment proposal will move on to the Impeachment Recommendation Committee. Following the parliamentary rules Clause 170; the committee will provide the person to be impeached with the seven days for submitting the clarification. After seven days, the committee moves on to prepare recommendation with facts whether the person is subject to the impeachment or not, and submit it to the parliament within a month from the date of starting work on it. Following the recommendation of the committee, the parliament proceeds with the impeachment process.


If any lawmaker has new facts, and reasons for sending back the committee’s recommendation, then the lawmaker can submit a revision of the recommendation. If the parliament passes the proposal for the revision of the recommendation then it goes back to the committee, if not, then it will go for the final decision. This time, the committee has to revise the recommendation and send it back to the parliament within seven days, the news in “gorkhapatra” of October 24, 2016 stated.


Speaking to the anchor of the Radio Nepal morning program called “antar-sambad” on October 26, 2016, the coordinator of the Impeachment Recommendation Study Committee (IRSC) Mr. Ramnarayan Bidari said that unlike the widely publicized views on the IRSC set up for this case, IRSC is a permanent committee, and is for impeaching any person appointed to the constitutional bodies and elected to the high offices such as the office of president, vice-president, speaker, and so on.


Coordinator Bidari also has said that the parliament could either accept or reject whatever IRSC has proposed on its recommendation. He also has said that once the deliberations on the impeachment case are done at the parliament then it comes to the IRSC that will give the accused the opportunity of presenting his/her case before the IRSC. The person could come in person to put up his/her argument in his/her favor or sent a written document defending the case. Then the IRSC makes its recommendations to the parliament for the impeachment.


Coordinator Bidari also has said that anybody the parliament has impeached becomes a worthless person in other word a junk, as s/he loses the privilege of holding any public office, and s/he loses the benefits entitled after the retirement from the office; so, Lokman would be well off to quit the office rather than facing the impeachment; then he would be still eligible for the public jobs and he would receive all the benefits he is entitled to.


The Article 101 (2) of the Constitution says, one-fourth of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives may move a motion of impeachment against the chief justice of Nepal or a justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Judicial Council, or the chief or official of any constitutional body on the ground of his or her failure to fulfill the duties of his/her office, serious violation of the Constitution or laws, incompetence, misconduct, failure to honestly discharge the duties of the office, or serious violation of the code of conduct.


Article 101 (6) of the Constitution states that after commencement of impeachment proceedings under Clause (2), the chief justice, a justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Judicial Council or the chief or official of a constitutional body against whom the impeachment proceedings have been initiated shall not be allowed to discharge the duties of his or her office, pending the conclusion of such proceedings.


Article 101 (6) of the constitution states If the motion is passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives, the person concerned shall be relieved of his or her office.


Gorkhapatra of October 24, 2016 stated that Acting CIAA Chief Deep Basnyat has directed the officials of the CIAA to sincerely perform their duty following the Constitution and laws. He directed the officials to perform their duty following the code of conduct the CIAA has set, and the Constitutional and legal mandate.


He said that the impeachment proposal against the CIAA leadership has hurt the entire CIAA family; however, CIAA is a live institution; so, some events will not affect the performances of the CIAA following the Constitutional responsibility.


Acting Chief Basnyat said that the impeachment proposal against the leadership has been at the sovereign parliament, and it will be done through the constitutional process, and the results will be acceptable to all.


At the meeting, Acting Chief of CIAA Deep Basnyat presided over on October 25, 2016 decided to retire 11 expert advisors including the Lokman’s daughter Adhyashree Karki effective on November 2, 2016, the news in “gorkhapatra” of October 26, 2016 stated. The news said that Adhyashree was a non-paying expert advisor, and those retirees included the chief expert advisor Komalprakash Ghimire.


The deliberations on the impeachment motion against Lokman have started off at the Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. Some lawmakers guessed that one-and-a-half months would require completing the impeachment process. After the completion of the deliberations on the motion at the parliament, it goes to the Impeachment Recommendation Study Committee (IRSC) the Legislature- Parliament has set up recently. The 11-member IRSC needs to study the motion and come up with its recommendations in a month.


The following accusations are mentioned in the impeachment motion, according to the news on on October 23, 2016.


Lokman issued a directive to Institute of Medicine (IoM) under the Tribhuvan University for taking actions against some professors that have stated Lokman has improperly used some provisions made in the interim constitution in the wake of promulgation of a new constitution.


He has put the pressure on the Medical Council and the concerned University to increase the quota of students in the Kist Medical College in which his relatives hold the shares.


He has intervened in the MBBS entrance examination the Kathmandu University has held.


He has manipulated the Prevention of Corruption Act of 2002 (2059) and caused troubles to the State employees on the pretext of investigation into corruption cases.


The charge against him includes that he has acted with a vengeance against those persons and organizations not agreeing with his performance.


Lawmakers have accused him of violating the office code of conducts.


Lawmakers also have termed him as a morally flawed person, lacking competency.


Spokesperson for the NC party: Dilendra Prasad Badu said that the NC central committee meeting President Sher Bahadur Deuba presided over on October 25, 2016 decided to let the impeachment motion move ahead following the parliamentary rules and procedures, as it was registered following the constitution, so not to interfere in its implementation, the news on stated.


At the meeting, NC President Deuba and senior leader Ramchandra Poudel said that the party needed not immediately make a decision on the impeachment motion as the IRSC within the Parliament was to set the fate of the motion, the news quoted NC central member Ram Krishna Yadav as saying.


Youth leaders such as Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Gagan Thapa, Surendra Pandey, Dhanraj Gurung, Pradip Poudel and Badri Pandey have openly come out for the NC to decide in favor of the impeachment motion, the news stated.


Subhash Ghimire and Guna Raj Luitel wrote a brief history of Lokman starting from the appointment to the CIAA Chief and ending to the time of impeachment on on October 24, 2016 as follows.


“The Khil Raj Regmi’s government started work on appointing Lokman Singh Karki to the CIAA. The HLPC (High Level Political Committee) on March 17 decided to recommend Karki to head the CIAA. Om Prakash Aryal promptly filed another writ petition on March 20 asking to void the HLPC recommendation. On March 22, the single bench of Justice Sushila Karki issued an interim order not to appoint Karki. But on April 29, a double bench of Girish Chandra Lal and Tarka Raj Bhatta dismissed the writ, describing it as premature, and did not go into the need for a high moral standing for the position of CIAA chief. The bench also counted in (the) Karki’s service at the royal palace, which meant he had more than the 20 years of public service needed to qualify for the job. It further said that the Constitutional Council would look into the moral standing of the candidate. However, this council recommended Karki on May 5, 2013, without holding any formal discussions on Karki’s eligibility or his moral character.


Aryal was also among the 18 members of a civil society delegation that meet President Ram Baran Yadav in the evening of May 6, 2013 over Karki's appointment. The president promised to at least delay the appointment. But Karki was hastily sworn in early the next morning.


On May 10, 2014, the Supreme Court overruled the court registrar’s order not to entertain the writ petition. Aryal then filed a supplementary application on May 12, 2014 challenging Karki's appointment. Hearings were postponed multiple times.


On September 24, 2014, a double bench of Gopal Parajuli and Om Prakash Mishra said Karki had completed 24 years of public service and it did not touch upon his moral standing. The decision also did not give any weight to the Rayamajhi Commission, which had implicated Karki. He was appointed without any hearings in Parliament and the moral issue was never discussed.


In course of the litigation, Karki’s lawyer argued that Aryal had to be “blacklisted” as he was running a smear campaign against the head of a constitutional commission. Much time was spent on discussing this issue in court rather than the main issue of the writ petition: the legality or otherwise of Karki’s appointment. Aryal often found himself fighting the case alone. Many fellow-lawyers refused to fight on his behalf. Some of them were threatened by the CIAA and Karki’s operatives. At the end, only one lawyer, out of 60, showed up in defense of Aryal. All of them had worked on a pro-bono basis.


Aryal had to wait a while before the full text of the decision was issued. Ram Kumar Shah, then chief justice, wanted to close the case before his own retirement on July 8, 2015. The full text of the decision came out on June 2, 2015 and Aryal filed another writ on November 25, 2015 asking for a review of the court’s decision.


It was only on August 26, 2016 that the court issued an order to furnish the original case file on Karki’s appointment. The subsequent drama that unfolded was not only insulting to the court but also gave the impression that Karki was above the law. He used every possible tactic to evade the court order. Meanwhile on September 19, he flew off to Canada at government expense for 15 days.


The political parties’ decision to impeach Karki last week, on the day he returned to Kathmandu, has sent shock waves across Kathmandu’s elite circles.


Karki was suspended on October 20, 2016, and on the 21st Om Prakash Aryal filed another supplementary application asking the court to revoke his pay and perks. Aryal cited the possible obstruction of justice as Karki reportedly continues to wield influence from his official residence inside the CIAA complex at Tangal, Kathmandu. Aryal says Karki believes in rule by law, not rule of law. He compares Karki’s doings to India’s economic blockade.”


At the meeting of the federal working committee of Nepal Sadbhavana Party held on the party on Monday, October 24, 2016, the party has accused the large political parties of diverting their attention to the impeachment motion at the Legislature-Parliament overshadowing the addressing of the Madhesh issues that require the amendment to the Constitution for meeting the Madheshi demands, the news stated on October 24, 2016. The party also has decided to put pressure on the Madheshi front to withdraw the support given to the government.


The central working committee meeting of the CPN-United held on Sunday, October 23, 2016 has decided to vote for the impeachment motion against the CIAA Chief Lokman at the parliament and instructed its lawmakers to this end, the news on stated on October 24, 2016. The meeting also decided to follow the federal modality in the party mechanism as the federal modality the country has already adopted.


On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Prime Minister Prachanda instructed the commissioners including the officiating Chief of CIAA Deep Basnyat to continue the regular business of the anti-corruption body after the suspension of the CIAA chief for his impeachment at the parliament. CIAA Chief Lokman got automatically suspended from the office following the impeachment motion filed against him at the Legislature-Parliament. “The CIAA is itself an autonomous entity. The government is only the facilitator of it. Do not interrupt the regular works at the CIAA. The government is ready to provide all sorts of support to it if needed,” the PM said in a regular meeting with the commissioners of the CIAA, the news on stated on October 27, 2016.


Speaking at a press meet the Press Chautari Nepal held in Dhankuta on October 26, 2016, CPN-UML leader Bhim Acharya said that the political parties needed to move a motion of impeachment against CIAA Chief Lokman, as he attempted to run a parallel administration. Leader Acharya has said that the Lokman’s activities have been going against the constitutional provisions, and Acharya held confidence in the two-thirds majority votes in the Parliament would pass the impeachment motion against him.


In response to the question of the anchor of the Radio Nepal morning program called “antar-sambad” on October 26, 2016 about the press conference CIAA Chief Lokman held while Prime Minister Prachanda was in India for the State visit, to tell he was opening the folder that probably contained the corruption cases in distributing the compensation to the Maoist fighters must have caused panic to the Maoists and provoked them to engage in impeaching Lokman, the coordinator of the Impeachment Recommendation Study Committee (IRSC) Mr. Ramnarayan Bidari said if Lokman was really investigating the case then he would not publicly say so rather he would do so confidentially; Lokman must have probably something to cover up making him to say so.


The 7:00 AM morning news of the Radio Nepal on October 28, 2016 stated that Chairman of Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party Narayan Man Bijukchhe said that the impeachment case was the trick of the Indian establishment to trap the CPN-UML leaders in forcing them to agree on the amendment to the Constitution. Bijukchhe said so while addressing an annual general meeting of truck entrepreneurs in Bhaktapur on October 27, 2016.


Other local newspapers have been saying that the Indian ambassador to Nepal: Ranjit Rae has been visiting the residences of the political leaders to lobby them for saving Lokman from the impeachment.


Lokman is the product of the then President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and the then Chairman of Council of Ministers Mr. Khil Raj Regmi the president appointed for holding the elections to another Constituent Assembly, as the first Constituent Assembly could not craft a new constitution; it ended its life, and it took the parliament with it. Despite the nationwide protest against the appointment of Lokman to the Chief Commissioner of CIAA, the then President Dr Ram Baran Yadav that had assured of not appointing Lokman on the previous night suddenly appointed next morning on the recommendation of the then Chairman of Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi. What interest these two guys have has shrouded in mystery.


November 9, 2016

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