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Conservationist files a case against number of gov departments

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Ex PM Kritinidhi Bista giving an interview to a National Television at his home, Kathmandu, Nepal, September 2016. Source: Tweet of the interviewer Suman Kharel

A unique petition, involving a tiger pelt and Nepal’s Ex-Prime Minister, was submitted to Nepal’s honorable Supreme Court today (074-WO-0807).

Conservationist and Co-Founder of Greenhood Nepal, Kumar Paudel, brought the petition following a chance viewing of something unexpected on national television.

He explained that, “As part of my current research, I have interviewed more than 150 people serving criminal sentences for illegally trading of wildlife in Nepal. Coincidentally, I was watching a national broadcast of an interview with our former Prime Minister, Kritinidhi Bista.  I was shocked to see that he was prominently displaying a tiger pelt as decorative item in his home.”

Though the law prohibits the ornamental use of endangered species, such as the tiger, the illegal harvest, trade and use of protected wildlife remains a problem across Nepal. It is a punishable crime, with high fines and prison sentences, and hundreds of people have been arrested and imprisoned across Nepal.

Mr. Paudel stated, “The law should not discriminate, even if it involves high ranking government officials. This is especially important because I have already met many other people who have been arrested and prosecuted for the same acts.”

He also expressed concerns that, by featuring protected wildlife parts on national television, the ex-Prime Minister was endorsing the illegal use of protected wildlife, further threatening imperiled species.

To dig deeper, Mr. Paudel reviewed the prevailing rules and regulations, and identified a provision that allows for the use of wildlife parts with a special permission from Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and/or District Forest Office. When the Department confirmed that no such consent had been given, he reached out to the concerned authorities to request legal action, initially on 12 September, 2016, followed multiple enquiries. Mr. Paudel then identified 3 other public instances where the government had failed to prosecute high-profile individuals for crimes related to wildlife trade.

This compelled Mr. Paudel to bring this petition to the Supreme Court, a case against a number of government departments that demands them to act on these prominent, yet overlooked cases of illegal wildlife use.

Two years on, there has not been any progress.

This compelled Mr. Paudel to bring this petition to the Supreme Court, a case against a number of government departments that demands them to act on these prominent, yet overlooked cases of illegal wildlife use.

Mr. Paudel stated, “I feel it is a moral obligation to raise my voice by issuing this petition. I believe that, by turning a deaf ear, the system condones wildlife crime, indicates biased application of the law and demonstrates a lack of unaccountability.”

Knocking on the door of the Supreme Court, Mr. Paudel feels, is the only remaining option to help protect Nepal’s wildlife.

Source

 

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National News

Nepal is perceived as third most corrupt country in South Asia, says Transparency Int

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The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index released today by Transparency International reveals that Nepal is third most corrupt country in South Asia, first being Afghanistan and second being Bangladesh.  Nepal fell two notches to 124 in 2018 from 122 in 2017 out of 180 countries.  Among the SAARC nations, Bhutan is least corrupt country with 25th position on the CPI, whereas Nepal stood at 124th.  Likewise, India (78th), Sri Lanka (89th), Pakistan (117th), Maldives (124th).

Source: Republica

 

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).  More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43.

As per the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, Denmark is perceived as least corrupt and Somalia the most.

Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption. Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International

Check the table below to learn more about

 

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National News

Nepal imports more than half of its electricity from India

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According the news published in Nepali Times, Nepal imported 653MW electricity from India last Friday, the biggest amount so far since the country ended powercuts three years ago. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had to import because the total demand for electricity reached 1,243MW last week because of winter peak load and falling production from run-of-river schemes due to low water volume in rivers.

According to NEA, the import is necessary to fulfill immediate needs and to prevent the economic cost of resuming power cuts. “If we compare the cost of importing 500MW electricity to the loss that Nepal’s industries would incur without that electricity, then the loss is much higher,” said Ghising. “It will take many years for us to construct 500MW hydropower plants. But the power is immediately available for import, which is economically more beneficial for us.”

Last year Nepal spent Rs20 billion importing electricity from India, on top of the Rs90 billion in petroleum imports. 

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National News

Gangster-turned-politician Manange released from jail

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Rajiv Gurung aka Deepak Manange has been released from Dillibazar-based prison on Friday afternoon. Supreme Court has given him a permission to fight the case from outside the prison.

Earlier in January, the Supreme Court (SC) had convicted Manange in an attempted murder case and sentenced him to five years in prison. He had been put in Dillibazar jail since his arrest by the Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu in April 18, 2018 for the charge of ‘attempt to murder’ and was ordered to be arrested and jailed for 5 years by the apex court.

Manangewas was elected as an independent candidate to a provincial assembly seat from Manang district; however, soon after the election result, SC convicted him for the attempted murder and he had been on run.  Fearing arrest, Manange did not take the oath of office and secrecy as PA member and had been absconding.  Nevertheless, he got arrested later in April 18th from Swayambu.

Case history

According to Kathmandu Post:

A gang of Manange had lanched a sword attack on the gang of Milan Gurung aka ‘Chakre’ in 2005. His left hand was chopped into two pieces in the attack. Though his hand was prevented from being cut off after the treatment, it did not return to its previous condition.

Following the attack, Chakre’s wife, Indira Gurung, filed an attempted murder case against Manange and his accomplices at the Kathmandu District Court.

But the Kathmandu District Court had ruled out the attempted murder charge and ordered a two-year jail sentence to Manange in aggravated assault conviction. The court had also acquitted four of Manange’s accomplices, including gangster turned politician Ganesh Lama, Umesh Lama, Rewat Karki and Ramesh Sunuwar.

Dissatisfied by the court’s ruling, the government lawyers had knocked the door of the Patan Appellate Court, seeking punishment against the defendants.

The Patan Appellate Court in 2012 ruled the incident as an attempted murder case and ordered five years jail sentence to Manange, but upheld the Kathmandu District Court’s decision to acquit Manange’s four accomplices.

The Attorney General’s Office in May 2013 had moved the SC, seeking punishment to four of Manange’s accomplices as well.

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