Newly-appointed Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has assumed office after he was sworn in on Sunday evening.
Speaking at an event organized at the Finance Ministry in Singha Durbar after assuming office, Sharma expressed commitment to strengthen the country’s economy and lead it in the direction of self-reliance.
He also thanked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other top leaders of the ruling coalition for giving him the opportunity to implement the budget.
Sharma said that he will move forward reviewing the implementation of last year’s budget.
He, however, did not say anything about the allegations leveled against him and the investigation carried out by the parliamentary special committee.
Earlier on Sunday, President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Sharma as finance minister on the recommendation of PM Deuba.
The parliamentary special committee formed to investigate charges of budget tampering against Sharma gave him a clean chit concluding that unauthorized persons did not change tax rates in the budget for the current fiscal year.
CPN-UML lawmakers in the committee, however, put a nine-page note of dissent. Ruling lawmakers in the committee concluded that Sharma is innocent pointing that the evidence and statements collected do not prove that he is guilty while UML lawmakers were adamant that he cannot be deemed innocent on the basis of evidence and statements collected.
Sharma was accused of inviting unauthorized persons to the Finance Ministry to tweak tax rates at the time of finalizing the budget on the night of May 28. He denied the allegations.
He courted another controversy when the Finance Ministry, responding to a right to information (RTI) request seeking closed-circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the night before the budget presentation, said that it does not have CCTV footage of more than 13 days.
Sharma resigned on July 6 after the 11-member parliamentary committee was formed to investigate allegations against him.
The forensic lab of Nepal Police recovered the Finance Ministry’s CCTV footage of May 28 and May 29 but the footage could not establish entry of unauthorized persons in the Finance Ministry.
Forensic experts told the committee that the quality of the Finance Ministry’s CCTV footage had deteriorated as they had transferred the videos to multiple devices in order to check them.