The Special Court on Monday (February 13) convicted three former chiefs of the Nepal Police and two procurement suppliers, including a foreign national, in the biggest ever corruption scandal, popularly known as the Sudan scam, that defamed Nepal internationally and tarnished the institutional image of Nepal Police.
The court slapped two-year imprisonment on all three former police chiefs — Om Bikram Rana, Hem Bahadur Gurung and Ramesh Chandra Thakuri– and various fine amounts on others depending on the level of involvement in corruption in the procurement of armored personnel carriers (APCs) and other logistics for Nepal Police peacekeepers deployed in war-ravaged north African country Sudan in 2007, which were later found to be substandard and obsolete.
According to the chargesheet filed by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) last July, altogether Rs 288 million was embezzled in the procurement of the APCs and other logistics. A UK-based supplier, Assured Risks Company, had supplied the substandard APCs and other logistics through its local agent, Shambhu Bharati of Bhagawati Traders.
As the agreement with the UK firm was signed during Rana’s tenure, the court slapped a Rs 170 fine on him, the highest among the convicted former police chiefs. The court said the procurement took place under Rana’s initiative. The court has found the suppliers, Assured Risks Company, its director Michael Rider, and local agent Bharati of Bhagawati Traders most answerable for the corruption and slapped heavier fines on them than on the former police chiefs.
In addition to two years’ imprisonment, Rider faces a Rs 284 million fine and his company will have to pay the government Rs 142 million as the claimed loss amount.