20th February. Kathmandu.
Today marks an important day for Oli led Nepal Communist Party, however not for the right reason. One of the Prime minister Oli’s favourite Ministers, Gokul Baskota has been implicated in a bribery case. An audio recording of Gokul Baskota bargaining with a Swiss Company local agent for Rs 700 million in commission (read bribe) has leaked to the press. Here is the audio.
The Swiss Company Agent Bijaya Prakash Mishra says Minister Baskota initially asked for two billion as a bribe. What is also unnerving is the way he uses vulgar words at Government employees. Nepal Civil Service Employees’ Union has vehemently opposed the use of Minister Baskota’s words.
Following extreme criticism from civil society, the main opposition party and even some from the governing party, Gokul Baskota has resigned.
It is true that Prime Minister Oli led government has about a two-thirds majority. Gokul Baskota did win an election before becoming a minister. The government in a Democracy is the reflection of the society of a nation.
This incident shows the problem inherent in Nepali society and the limitations of democracy. We are sure that this audio leak is an exception rather than the norm. Corruption is rampant in the society and the nation, and not just monetary corruption, there is character corruption, corruption of justice and corruption of ideology.
If Nepal really wants to develop, Nepali society needs to do away with corruption from the grassroots level. What seems to be happening in Nepal is a culture where corrupt people at high places are providing opportunities to corrupt people so that they are free from investigations and questioning.
A civilian has rightly pointed out that each and every Rupee spent by the Government needs to be displayed publicly using right technologies such as websites so that corruption is checked.