Jun 22, 2017-
Two former police chiefs turned themselves in to the court on Wednesday—more than a month and a half after they were convicted of graft.
Issuing the final verdict on the multimillion-dollar Sudan scam, one of the high-profile corruption cases in the country, the Supreme Court (SC) on April 30 had slapped jail term and fine on former inspectors general Om Bikram Rana, Hem Bahadur Gurung and Ramesh Chand Thakuri; former additional inspector general Deepak Singh Thangden, former deputy inspector general Deepak Shrestha and other officials.
Rana, Gurung, Thangden and Shrestha surrendered before the court on Wednesday. They have been sent to Dillibazaar jail, said Mahendra Upadhyay, Spokesperson for the Supreme Court.
The SC had slapped two-year jail sentence and Rs 50,000 fine on Rana and one- year jail term and Rs 40,000 fine on Gurung and Thakuri. The court had also handed down six-year jail terms and Rs 30,000 fine on Thangden and Shrestha. Other police officials—Shyam Singh Thapa and Ravi Pratap Rana—were also convicted of graft.
Thakuri, Thapa and Ravi Pratap Rana are still “at large”.
A division bench of then chief justice Sushila Karki and Justice Biswombhar Prasad Shrestha had found the top cops guilty of purchasing sub-standard armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for Nepali UN peacekeepers deployed in the Darfur region.
Nepal Police had courted criticism for failing to arrest the former chiefs and other officials despite the top court finding them guilty of corruption. Instead of arresting the convicts, Nepal Police had been providing the former chiefs with personal security officers and guards along with other facilities.
The apex court’s final verdict on April 30 had come hours before Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre lawmakers filed an impeachment motion against then chief justice Karki. She retired on June 7. The impeachment motion against her was withdrawn from Parliament the same day.
The corruption case which is known as the Sudan scam, had been dragging on since 2011. An inquiry by the State Affairs Committee of Parliament had concluded that Rs 310 million out of the total Rs 445 million set aside for the procurement of armoured personnel carriers had been embezzled with the involvement of politicians, senior police officials and contractors from Nepal and the UK. But it took the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authorities more than a year and a half to prepare the case in which the three former police chiefs and two dozen police officials were accused of embezzling millions of rupees. The serving police officials were suspended immediately after the case was filed in June 2011.
The United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNMID) had effectively declared the Nepali mission “defunct” for procuring substandard APCs from the Czech Republic, which were used in World War II, and embezzling a large part of the allocated budget. Sudan scam is one of the largest corruption cases in Nepal.
The police officials who turned themselves in to the court on Wednesday will get 20 percent exemption from punishment “for surrendering within two months of their conviction”.