The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has instructed the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to investigate the controversy surrounding the citizenship and passport of Rastriya Swatantra Party Chairman Rabi Lamichhane, who won the House of Representatives election from Chitwan-2 recently.
CIAA spokesperson Shyam Prasad Bhandari informed Setopati that the Commission has written to the ministries concerned to investigate the matter after a complaint was filed at the Commission.
“We had received a separate complaint. We have written to the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to investigate the matter,” Bhandari said.
A complaint has also been filed at the Home Ministry regarding Lamichhane’s citizenship and passport controversy. District Police Range, Kathmandu has started investigation into the matter after the complaint was filed.
Lamichhane has been accused of not relinquishing his Nepali citizenship while obtaining US citizenship and of using his old Nepali citizenship even after giving up US citizenship. Ukeraa.com had reported a few days ago that Lamichhane had also obtained a Nepali passport while still holding a US passport.
According to Ukeraa.com, Lamichhane has been using the Nepali citizenship he had obtained in 1993. He does not appear to have given up his Nepali citizenship even after acquiring US citizenship. One’s Nepali citizenship becomes invalid as soon as one acquires foreign citizenship. Anyone acquiring foreign citizenship must renounce their Nepali citizenship first. But Lamichhane is found to have obtained a Nepali passport on the basis of his invalid citizenship in 2015 itself.
Lamichhane had filed candidacy for the November 20 elections using his old citizenship certificate. A complaint was filed against him on this issue at the Election Commission. Voting had already taken place by the time the Commission sought clarification from him on the matter. Another complaint was filed against him at the Home Ministry after that.
The Home Ministry had written to the Kathmandu district administration after receiving the complaint.
If the investigation finds that Lamichhane had obtained a Nepali passport before renouncing his foreign citizenship, he could be fined and imprisoned.
The law has also prescribed punishment for anyone who obtains or tries to obtain a passport or travel permit by providing false information.
According to Section 21 (a) of the Passport Act 2076, one cannot obtain a passport by providing false information. If one does so, they could be fined Rs 200,000 to Rs 500,000 or jailed for one to three years or both as per Section 22 of the Act.