Nepal FM Janardan Sharma Resigns

Finance Minister Janardan Sharma resigned on Wednesday amid widespread criticism following charges that he had employed two unauthorized persons to tweak tax rates.

Sharma’s resignation follows the formation of an 11-member parliamentary probe committee over charges of breaching the budgetary discipline, which experts say amounts to financial crime, reported Kathmandu Post.
He made the announcement of his resignation while addressing the meeting of the House of Representatives.

“While I fully refute allegations against me, I have decided to cooperate in the investigation,” said Sharma in his address to Parliament. “I announce my resignation to facilitate the probe process.”

Sharma has been embroiled in a series of controversies. In the latest one, he was accused of inviting two unauthorized persons to change tax rates on May 28, a day before he presented the budget for the next fiscal year, reported Kathmandu Post.

Earlier on Wednesday, discussions were held to form a parliamentary committee to investigate the charges against Sharma.

Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed a proposal of Speaker Agni Sapkota for the formation of the Parliamentary Probe Special Committee.

The committee has four lawmakers from the CPN-UML, two each from the Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre, and one each from the CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party and Loktantrik Samabajbadi Party.

The main opposition party CPN-UML has been demanding Sharma’s resignation ever since reports suggested that he involved two persons to change tax rates, reported Kathmandu Post.

Amid calls for a probe into Sharma, a new controversy arose after the ministry failed to provide the CCTV footage of May 28, saying storage of only 13 days’ recording is possible.

In response to the demand for the CCTV footage, the Finance Ministry has said that it got erased because the record of only 13 days remains in storage.

The ministry’s response has raised multiple questions. Also, civil society members have demanded Sharma’s resignation and a fair probe into the incident, reported Kathmandu Post.

Nepali Congress leaders including General Secretary Gagan Thapa have publicly demanded Sharma’s sacking.

On Tuesday, six former vice-chairmen of the National Planning Commission demanded an investigation into the charges of budget tampering. (ANI)

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