Nepal panel to probe allegations in UN arms deal

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Kathmandu: Nepal on Thursday set up a top panel to probe the poor quality of armoured carriers for its UN peace keeping force in Sudan that has sparked a row in the country, amid allegations of corruption in the arms deal.

The government has formed a five-member committee to probe allegations of sub-standard Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and other logistics for the Nepal Police personnel who have been deployed in Darfur for the last three years.

As per media reports around NRs. 350 million has been embezzled in the deal.

The corruption allegation has sparked a row in the country, with the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament directing the government to take action against those responsible for supplying the low quality armoured vehicles to the Nepalese blue helmets deployed in Sudan.

The government has decided to procure APC and other logistics for 140 Nepal Police personnel deployed in Darfur, after the UN warned to repatriate the Nepalese security personnel who were in the country to maintain peace during a crucial referendum.

The cabinet has decided to release NRs. 300 million to begin procurement of the APCs and other equipments, sources said.

The government would extract the loss incurred from the persons involved in the procurement at the recommendation of the probe committee, said Shanker Pokharel, the government spokesman and Minister for Communication and Information.

The coalition led by caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Nepal has written a letter to the UN in Sudan assuring the earliest supply of the APCs and other logistics.

The government has requested the UN not to repatriated Nepalese security personnel from Sudan after yesterday`s crucial cabinet meeting decided to procure the APCs, according to cabinet sources.

The UN had warned that it would not be able to deploy the Nepalese personnel if the necessary equipments did not reach the restive nation by January 9.

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