In all countries, large or small, developed or developing, corruption prevails. It has remained a consistent phenomenon. The evidence suggests it is prevalent for thousands of years. Therefore, there is a corruption law in every country to control such practices.
In general people’s understanding, corruption is an abuse of authority for the gain of oneself. However, the definition cannot be limited to this. It includes wide-ranging actions such as taking bribes, patronising at the expense of public office, using authority for action(s) that are non-legal, among others.
Nepal has taken various steps to prevent corruption ranging from the formulation of special legislation focusing on corruption (i.e. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 2002), establishing a constitutional body to act against corruption (i.e., the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority), conducting various training and awareness programmes to list a few.
The corruption law (the Prevention of Corruption Act) prohibits any civil servant from taking any amount from the service seekers. Anyone found doing it is punishable under the law. The punishment for receiving money from service seekers differs according to the amount received by the officials.
The government officials are punished in accordance to the amount they embezzle as given below:
|SN||The amount received by government officials||Punishments (Imprisonment)|
|1||Up to Rs 25,000||Less than 3 months|
|2||Rs 25,000-50,000||3-4 months|
|3||Rs 50,000-100,000||4-6 months|
|4||Rs 100,000-500,000||6 months-1.5 years|
|5||Rs 500,000-1 million||1.5-2.5 years|
|6||Rs 1 million-2.5 million||2.5-5 years|
|7||Rs 2.5 million-5 million||5-6 years|
|8||Rs 5 million-10 million||6-8 years|
|9||More than Rs 10 million||8-10 years|
In addition to this, any public servant who accepts goods or any services free of cost or at a lower price than it is sold to other individuals or if anyone expects anything as a gift, such acts also fall under the definition of corruption and punishable in the eyes of law.
Any act of accepting goods or any services free of cost or at a low price is liable for imprisonment from six months to one year and fine equivalent to the amount involved. Individual accepting gifts is liable for imprisonment of three to six months and the amount shall be confiscated.
Further, the Supreme Court of Nepal has propounded different precedents making the law clearer and more applicable. The court in a recent decision stated finding money with the government official is not enough to prove them guilty. The decision thereon explores what constitutes corruption and what evidences can prove the guilt.