Nepal’s central bank governor suspended

KATHMANDU, June 30, 2007 (AFP) – Nepal’s central bank governor and another top official have been suspended after being charged with corruption involving the embezzlement of public funds, an official said on Saturday. The charges against Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai and Executive Director Surendra Man Pradhan were laid by an anti-graft body tasked by Nepal’s new government, which contains former Maoist rebels, to clean up public institutions.

The two men “were automatically suspended from their respective posts after the charges,” Lalit Bahadur Limbu, the acting head of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, told AFP.

The men are accused of causing the central bank a 376,923-dollar loss.

The charges stem from a supposed 26-million-dollar contract with a US-based consultancy in 2006 which did not exist and with KPMG of Sri Lanka, which said it “never reached any kind of agreement with the bank,” Limbu said.

The official said the court case seeks recovery of the lost money and two-year jail terms for Bhattarai and Pradhan.