After a month’s deadlock, Nepal’s Parliament was back in session Wednesday as seven national parties, both ruling and opposition, agreed on the formation of a judicial commission to probe the smuggling of gold into the country.
The Federal Parliament had been stalled by the main opposition, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), since July 20 — a day after the smuggling came to light — as it demanded a special probe by a commission rather than a routine administrative one.
On Wednesday, after a meeting, the chief whips of the House signed an agreement in presence of their respective party chiefs. The agreement said an inquiry commission headed by a Nepal Supreme Court judge would be constituted and that it would begin work from September 22.
As per the understanding reached, the commission will have the power and jurisdiction of a functional court. The constitutional council will recommend the name of the judge heading the commission.
On July 19, about 100 kg of gold had been seized by Revenue Investigation Department officials after it had been cleared by the customs at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. According to official sources, it was brought from Hong Kong and was possibly on the way to India.
The same day, officials also found around nine kg of gold concealed as electronic cigarettes. It is suspected that a ruling party leader had lobbied for their clearance.
As per the agreement struck upon by Nepal’s parties, both cases will be investigated by the commission. It will also identify people involved in smuggling, and recommend their prosecution as well as structural changes and reform.