Cabinet Ministers' Property Details to be Made Public by Government

Cabinet Ministers' Property Details to be Made Public by Government

The government has chosen to disclose the property information of every Cabinet minister in an effort to enhance transparency and effective governance. This choice was made during a session of the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

As per the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, all the present ministers, except Health Minister Pradeep Yadav and State Minister for Forests Hasina Khan, have furnished their asset declarations.

By law, as per Section 31 of the Abuse of Authority Investigation Act 2048 and Section 50 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2059, ministers are required to submit a statement of their properties, income sources and assets to the Prime Minister's Office within 60 days of taking office. They must also provide updated details annually by publishing a notice in the Nepal Gazette.

However, previous governments led by Sher Bahadur Deuba and K.P. Sharma Oli had refrained from publicly disclosing the asset details of their ministers despite this being an established practice. After the 2017 elections, when asset details of some ministers in the Oli government were made public, it led to public criticism over the wealth disclosed.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' had initially been reluctant to make these details public as well. But the decision was pushed through after mounting pressure from coalition partner Rastriya Swatantra Vijay Party (RSVP).

The four RSP ministers - Deputy PM Ravi Lamichhane, Labor Minister Dol Prasad Aryal, Education Minister Sumana Shrestha and Sports Minister Vijay Bhakta Shrestha - had formally requested the PM's Office to disclose all ministers' property statements in the interests of good governance.

"As public representatives, we must be accountable to the people. Disclosing our assets is a crucial step towards transparency and regaining people's trust in the government," said Deputy PM Lamichhane while welcoming the decision.

Political analysts have lauded the move as an important anti-corruption measure that could set a precedent for future governments as well. "For too long, there has been a lack of financial transparency from people's representatives. This could be a step in the right direction," said political commentator Rajendra Maharjan.

The government is expected to formally publish the asset details of all ministers, except the two who haven't submitted them yet, in the coming days on the website of the PM's Office.

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