Nepal Army Chief to Crack Down on Corruption
In an open statement published by E Kantipur, Nepal’s newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Purna Chandra Thapa stated that the corruption in Nepal Army was high and there is a need to curb the same urgently.
He was speaking at functions related to the Dashera celebration in Nepal known as Dashain at the Nepal Army headquarters in Bhadrakali on 11 October. “We need help from the media and Civil Society, among other stakeholders. I won’t say that there is no corruption,” he said, adding, “Corruption can’t be controlled in a day, we need a long effort to curb corruption. I am ready for that.” He also sought to control the growing nepotism in the Army. “Nepal Army will not work under anyone’s pressure and influence,” he said.
To end the corruption and to bring those indulging in the same to book, General Thapa said that the dysfunctional military courts will be made active.
General Thapa’s candid admission that there is corruption in the Nepal Army and resolve to root out the same is welcome. Various audit reports in the past have indicated cases of embezzlement from the welfare fund, the latest being of Nepal Rs 28 Billion in May this year. The mismanagement and misuse of the fund was highlighted in the annual report of Auditor General.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) does not have a mandate to question the Nepal Army thus denoting that there is almost a free way for the generals. Thus the statement by General Thapa is a welcome move.
Indicating that the NA will operate within the bounds of the Constitution Thapa said, “Army will accept the rights provided by the constitution,” Thapa said. “Army is ready to control anti-national activities. Army will take the responsibility,” he added.
He also refuted charges that the Nepal Army was indulging in business activities and stated that these were mainly welfare works.
Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies is reportedly preparing to allow the Nepal Army to revive the defunct Hetauda Textile Industry (HTI). As part of the initiatives to revive HTI with the involvement of the Nepal Army, a seven-member committee to study the feasibility of reviving the industry has been formed. The committee comprises of three senior officials of the Nepal Army along with a joint secretary of the finance ministry and an expert mechanical engineer to be appointed by the ministry. The Nepal Army will also buy tankers and supply fuel to the Nepal Oil Corporation by purchasing tankers from its welfare fund and supply fuel to the NOC in contract.
Lieutenant General Purna Chandra Thapa’s biography denotes commendable achievements through his career. He was enrolled in the Nepalese Army as an Officer Cadet in 1979 and commissioned as Second Lieutenant into Gorakh Bahadur Battalion on 12 December 1980. During his 36 years of military service, General Thapa held various Command and Staff appointments at various levels while he also attended/participated in various courses, seminars and exercises both at home and abroad. As regards to the service to the United Nations, he has accumulated a vast experience. He was a Platoon Commander of the Nepalese Contingent in UNIFIL (Lebanon) in 1986 and an Operation Duty Officer at UNIFIL Headquarters in 1989.
He also served in UNPROFOR (Former YUGOSLAVIA i.e., Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia) as the Military Observer in 1994-95. Notably he enriched his experience at the highest level while he led a team representing Government of Nepal and the Nepalese Army as well as Vice Chairman (2009-2011) in the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC) in United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN, 2007-2011). He had served as the Head of Mission, Force Commander and the Designated Official of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan Heights from 8 February 2015 to 8 February 2016.