Corruption, like an anti-social virus, pervades the world in different forms and developing countries often view this problem as an incurable social disease. As a developing country, Nepal is not immune to the impact of corruption; on the contrary, corruption has taken a firm hold in Nepalese society and has become a menace to good governance and to the welfare of the people of Nepal. In response to this critical problem both internal and external pressure has been brought to bear.
Anti Corruption Bodies and Laws
Prior to 1953, legal provisions dealing with corruption were scattered
throughout various pieces of legislation. With the enactment of the 1953
Corruption Control Act, a separate department was established to address
the problem of corruption in the administrative sector. This act was subsequently
repealed and replaced by the 1960 Prevention of Corruption Act, and a
special police department was established under the Home Ministry to investigate
corruption. Prior to 1975, there was no independent constitutional body
to deal with corruption, but with the second amendment to the Constitution
of Nepal, a Commission for the Prevention of Abuse of Authority (CPAA)
was set up to both investigate and adjudicate upon corruption cases.
Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990 established the Commission for
the Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) which is empowered
to investigate corruption and improper conduct on the part of public officials.
Mounting public pressure and the work of CIAA led to the enactment of
more effective legal provisions. As a result, the Commission for Investigation
of Abuse of Authority Act 1991 was amended to provide greater powers to
the CIAA, and the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 was enacted. This
legislation established a National Vigilance Center and provided additional
powers to combat corruption. Additionally, the Special Court Act 2002
constituted a three-member court to try corruption cases.
Investigation and Adjudication of Corruption Cases
The CIAA is the only constitutional body which investigates and files
cases to the Special Court concerning improper conduct and corruption
by public officials. Corruption cases filed by the CIAA are prosecuted
by the Attorney General's Office. With the establishment of the Special
Court and the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002, success
in combating corruption cases has increased to 87%, and this can be regarded
as a positive and important step towards corruption control.
Excessive indulgence and corrupt conduct by politicians, lack of political
commitment, use of undue political influence in bureaucracy, departmental
reluctance to tackle corruption, and poor job evaluation and performance
appraisal mechanisms, all pose serious impediments to the control of corruption.
Corruption is able to flourish because of the existence of an invisible
nexus between corrupt politicians, senior bureaucrats, businessmen and
industrialists. Efforts towards combating corruption cannot be effective
unless this nexus can be broken, but the problem facing those charged
with this task is worsened by having to work with limited physical and
Since the year 2000 the anti corruption campaign in Nepal has become stronger.
This has been due partly to the proactive work of the CIAA, but also to
the rising awareness of the people, and pressure from civic-minded factions
of Nepalese society and donor countries. Corruption control is high on
the agenda in the Royal Proclamation, which, together with the formation
of Royal Commission for Corruption Control, has reinforced and consolidated
Nepal's anti corruption campaign. But anti corruption legislation alone
cannot defeat this social evil, and it is the duty of all factions of
society, including the government, non-government organisations, the media,
professional organizations and the man in the street to join forces against
and collectively combat this deeply rooted social evil.
Krishna Jeevi Ghimire
Office of the Attorney General