Former IRD Chief Chudamani Sharma sentenced to 9 years in prison, Rs 6bn cash penalty imposed

KATHMANDU: The Special Court on Tuesday sentenced former Inland Revenue Department (IRD) chief Chudamani Sharma, the brains behind the nation’s multi-billion rupee corruption cases, to nine years in prison. Sharma was found guilty of accepting kickbacks while working for the Tax Settlement Commission in order to settle tax debts.

The Special Court has also requested that Sharma pay a cash fine of Rs. 6 billion and return the misappropriated funds to the appropriate authority. This is the biggest fine the legal system has ever imposed on someone charged with a corruption scheme.

Sharma’s punishments were determined by a joint bench consisting of Special Court Chairman Shreekant Poudel, Judges Yamuna Bhattarai and Shaligram Koirala, Chairman of the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC), Lumba Dhwaj Mahat, and Member Umesh Dhakal. Mahat received a nine years and one month sentence in prison, while Dhakal received a nine year sentence.

Earlier on June 1, the Special Court found three former TSC employees guilty of corruption in a tax evasion case, including Sharma. Sharma also held the position of member-secretary for the TSC.

Sharma, Mahat, and Dhakal were found guilty of abusing their power by allowing various large corporations to avoid paying taxes totaling Rs 10.2 billion.

The accused was required to collect billions from those businesses and different people by the government. But back in 2015, when they held official positions, the officials had improperly distributed tax rebates.

Along with the tax waiver case, Sharma and his wife Kalpana Uprety Sharma were charged with amassing ill-gotten gains totaling Rs 42.95 million. Although Sharma and his wife were accused of illegally accumulating property, the court cleared them of any wrongdoing.

In July 2017, the court first heard the largest corruption case ever brought against a person in the nation.

The same year, Sharma was detained in his office following a flurry of complaints accusing him of misusing millions of dollars and abusing his position of power.

Sharma was freed on bail on November 29 of the same year after paying the Rs 10 million demanded by the Special Court.

In January 2018, the Special Court received a new corruption complaint against suspended IRD Chief Sharma. The second time the case was brought against Sharma, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) alleged that Sharma’s property, which totaled Rs 42.95 million, was out of proportion to his legal income.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday June 21, 2023, 10:41:27 AM |

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