Just when we thought everything necessary had been said about Nepal’s corrosive corruption, it seems to be even worse.
The idea that ‘corruption’ is a Rs100 note slipped under a table is now just a quaint notion. Today, a network of politicians, bureaucrats, the legislature, judiciary and private sector cartels plunder and loot from the people, dividing the spoils. The beauty of it: no one is caught.
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‘Corruption in Nepal is not a series of disjointed, individual acts. Instead, a range of stakeholders spanning public, private and criminal spheres operate as one to steal from the people and ensure impunity thrives,’ says a new report by the Niti Foundation, Nepal’s Kleptocratic Network: Mapping Corruption and Impunity.
The network is one of shifting alliances spanning multiple agencies, with powerful businesses acting as brokers.
‘Money flows upwards through the hierarchy while impunity and benefits flow downward,’ adds the report. It uses flowcharts to show and shame politicians, political parties, public institutions and the private businesses.
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‘The private sector has gained primacy as the driver of corruption and impunity in Nepal ... its main roles are to distort the functions and policies of government regulatory agencies and to hijack key revenue streams to facilitate money laundering and rentier practices,’ the report concludes.
In cahoots are political ‘patrons’ of the network and parties creating a ‘culture of collusion’, and public institutions, which also ‘collude with private interests and politicians to steal directly from the state’.
State institutions have been ‘weaponised’ and ‘hollowed out’.
So, who remains to protect the interests of the Nepali people? If you were thinking ‘the judiciary’, think again.
The report states starkly: ‘Through pressure and threats, including sackings, impeachments, and forced retirements, political parties control and extract loyalty from justices.’