CIAA Chief Speaks Loud For System Correction : Prem Khatry
The occasion was purely academic, historic and cultural. Nai Prakashan, a non-profit private enterprise devoted to searching, finding, publishing and honouring contributors in the field of language and literature, history and culture, arts and crafts, among other fields, had organised a programme to honour different personalities from home and India in the above mentioned fields. Dr. Sanjaya Bantawa, a visiting professor at the Department of Indian languages, BHU, India, was one star recipient of a noted prize in the name of the famous (late) poet Iswar Ballabh. Nai also honoured Bodhisatva Swami Ananda Arun, Prof. Dr. Beena Ghimire (TU Culture Department), Tejraj Khatiwoda from Jhapa, for their continuous and life long contributions in different fields.
Hail the Chief
The chief guest on the occasion was none other than the chief of the CIAA Lok Man Singh Karki. Karki is not only tall and stout, he is equally forceful as well logical when he speaks. People had mixed feelings when he took over as the chief commissioner of the organisation that was considered lean and helpless, until he took over, that is. Gradually Karki began to show signs of life in the organisation. Today, he creates waves of comments, criticisms and appreciation at the same time, as he speaks or/and acts.
Karki's speech had three major parts - appreciation for those who are responsible for upholding the responsibility of awarding selected personalities who have contributed significantly in the field mentioned above. Second, his talks concentrated on the messages of the great Hindu shastras. Third he vowed to correct the system through the long hands of the CIAA.
The chairperson and the member secretary of Nai Prakashan explained how people like Yogi Naraharinath were brought to light, and Swami Anand Arun launched the book Himavatkhanda written by Yogi Naraharinath on the occasion. The Swami appreciated the effort of Nai for its talent haunt and for bringing the talents to light through the largest public award culture Nai has established in Nepal.
The CIAA chief, Karki, consumed the largest chunk of the allocated time for speakers while addressing the audience. Always conscious of his very sensitive position and need of controlling the tongue in a public event like this one, he, however, seemed to be in the mood. He was pointed, elaborative at times and opened up to deliver a message of public interest in very clear terms.
Karki informed the audience that he had arrived there after completing a day's hardest work ever - a national responsibility: he had filed a petition to the Special Court against the former CEOs, board chair and members of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) with the largest ever price tag of Rs. 80 crores. This step has materialised the claim he has been making about netting the big 'fish' some day when he was criticised by the public for letting the big fish go and spending time and scarce resources catching the small fish. With this new case filed against the NTB authorities, the CIAA has indeed received appreciation to a great extent. Time will only show how the convicted officials fare in the eyes of the law.
Vowing to 'cleanse'
In his presentation, the chief was very polite but energetic and commanding at the same time. He openly asked the audience for their blessings and well wishes for his success in nabbing the corrupt officials and others concerned, who not only break and ignore the law of the land, but do everything possible to bully others who stand on their smooth path of lawlessness. He received loud applause when he vowed to do all he could to keep the government agencies clean, give the nation a transparent and corruption free administration based on law, credibility and accountability.
There were gossips running in the audience: 'If Nepal had about ten such open-minded, daring and committed officials working to cleanse the whole system and put a strong hold on corruption including misuse/abuse of power, Nepal's democratic innovation would not be a dream; nor would it face a perilous state we see now.'
Beyond any doubt, the CIAA chief was leaving an impression with the steps he took in his latest bout against corruption. But unfortunately, corruption in Nepal has now been a culture, a worst one at that. People are used to watching and hearing about it, reading about it almost daily and digesting it as if it were a cup of tea. At least for a short stretch of time, at the Sanchar Gram Hall at Tilganga with the 200-plus strong audience, the chief guest was the star witness, describing what was going in and around Nepal due to the corrupt mindset and highly selfish attitude. For such a mindset, the family matters much, the political parties matter much, but what never matter are the nation and nationality.
It will take a few more years for an organisation like the CIAA to show the result of its work of cleansing the sensitive organs of the government from corruption. It will take decades to see its effect expanded and effectively working at all levels of government and other agencies. Corruption is not just money running from one hand/wallet to the next; it is the practice of cheating the society, the institution or place of work by providing less than standard and expected service, not being sincere enough as a responsible member of the society and employee of an organisation.
Finally, it is now time Nepalis showed faith and trust in the CIAA, reported fact-based information so that it can lay its long hands on the case, support its good motive and criticise its wrong notion, if any, and help it correct its style and methods. But people must also avoid piling up weak cases just because the CIAA registers them without scrutiny in the first place. This has also been observed because of the facility to report a case without name and solid proof. This must be changed in order to avoid unnecessary hassles.