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34 Nepal police officers to face court in UN embezzlement scam

June 9, 2011 - Kathmandu

At least 34 Nepal police officers have been ordered to appear before a court over embezzlement charges during the procurement of obsolete and sub-standard armoured vehicles for Nepali United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region.

They are accused of stealing more than four million dollars (2.4 million pounds), which is the biggest corruption case in Nepal.

Among those accused of fraud, are three former police chiefs and 24 serving officers.

The serving officers, who are charged of embezzlement, have been suspended from their posts

The commission, which levelled charges against them, has pleaded sentences of upto 13 years for those found guilty.

"We can't comment on the investigation, but we are trying to manage the vacant posts as best as we can," the BBC quoted Nepal police spokesman Navaraj Dhakal, as saying.

The commission has also charged two contractors of diversion of funds, who were responsible for supplying the armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

One of them, Briton Michael Rider from the company Assured Risks, denied that his company was responsible for supplying faulty equipment. He said the equipment had been badly maintained.

"The problem in Sudan occurred because the vehicles were left unattended near the salty waters of Port Sudan and in extreme temperatures for a long time, without any daily, weekly and monthly service which is required on any APC," he said.


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