Nepal’s finance minister resigns over unauthorized tax change allegations

Kathmandu, July 6 (EFE).- Nepal’s Finance Minister Janardan Sharma announced his resignation on Wednesday after allegations that he let two unauthorized persons change tax rates in the annual federal budget on May 28.

Sharma is facing a widespread outcry over the conflict-of-interest allegations since the unauthorized guests, invited into his ministry chambers as tax experts when officials finalized the budget, changed the rates to favor some influential businessmen.

He denied the allegations.

“I have decided to resign in order to cooperate in the investigation process,” Sharma told parliament. “I am clean. I am ready to face thousands of investigations.”

The opposition CPN-UML and its youth organization have been holding demonstrations to call for Sharma’s resignation since last week.

The lower house Wednesday ordered a parliamentary probe panel to look into the matter.

“An 11-member parliamentary committee has been formed to investigate the issue,” speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota told the house.

The committee has 10 days to produce the report.

According to a report published by the Kathmandu-based newspaper Annapurna Post in mid-June, Sharma allegedly permitted two people to visit the finance ministry’s secret chamber.

The two allegedly broke the budgetary rules by adjusting tax rates in favor of a handful of business groups.

The opposition party demanded CCTV footage from the ministry.

On July 3, the finance ministry announced that the CCTV footage from May 28 had been automatically destroyed since the system would only save the clip for 13 days.

According to an official, government organizations must legally keep the CCTV footage for at least three months.

Sharma was a leader of the Maoist during the insurgency period and served as one of the top deputy commanders of the People’s Liberation Army. EFE


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