Nepal PM Oli faces corruption charges with Chinese deals under scanner

WION New Delhi Jul 14, 2020, 09.18 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Xi Jinping with Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In his second term, Oli allegedly used his powers to award contracts to Chinese companies.

Nepal Prime Minister Oli's government faces serious charges of corruption, and now, the prime minister himself is under the scanner.

The Global Watch alleges that the Nepali prime minister is corrupt. The report says that Nepal is a “classic example” of how China uses corrupt leaders to make inroads into weaker countries.

The charges against Oli are serious. During his first stint as prime minister, Oli allegedly tried to invest in the telecom sector of Cambodia. Reports say the then Chinese ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai had extended assistance to Oli for the deal.

In his second term, Oli allegedly used his powers to award contracts to Chinese companies. Several deals struck under Oli are under scanner like the agreement to set up a digital action room with video conferencing facilities in the prime minister’s office. The contract reportedly went to China communication service, a subsidiary of Huawei without any competitive bid.

Later, it emerged that the son of Oli’s political advisor Kshitiz Rimal had pushed for the deal. Another deal under scrutiny is a contract to build Nepal’s largest hydropower project which went to a Chinese state-owned company again without a competitive bid.

Oli overturned a decision by his predecessor Sher Bahadur Deuba while in office, Deuba had decided to not award the contract to the Chinese. 

Oli’s rapid rise in personal wealth also adds to suspicion. According to the Global Watch, more than $5 million dollars stashed in the Geneva branch of the Mirabaud bank belong to KP Sharma Oli.

Reports claim the money has been invested in long term deposits and shares and that these investments give Oli and his wife half a million dollars every year.

It's not just the Nepal prime minister, his inner circle faces serious corruption charges with several members of his government accused of taking kickbacks. It includes the health minister and several senior advisers. The corruption charge is over the purchase of Chinese equipment like personal protection kits and testing machines.

Oli has tried to drown these reports in his nationalistic politics but he's not been able to as public anger has been on the rise. Young Nepalis have been taking to the streets against the government. The charges of graft have now reached the prime minister's doorstep.