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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Jailed ex-PM in Nepal court plea
By Sushil Sharma
BBC News, Kathmandu

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba
Ex-Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was jailed last month
Ex-Nepalese PM, Sher Bahadur Deuba, has appealed to the nation's Supreme Court to throw out a sentence imposed by a controversial anti-corruption body.

The Royal Commission for Corruption Control jailed Mr Deuba and another ex-minister for two years for their role in a drinking-water project.

Mr Deuba says the panel, which has sweeping powers to arrest and punish, is unconstitutional and illegal.

It was set up by King Gyanendra after he assumed direct power in February.

The country's major opposition parties say the panel is part of a political vendetta.

Access road

Mr Deuba has petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the rulings of the anti-corruption watchdog null and void.

The body last month jailed Mr Deuba and another former minister, Prakash Man Singh, and fined them $1.3m each.

Four defendants also received jail terms and fines.

The panel said that the contract for the construction of an access road of the Melmachi water project had been improperly awarded to an unqualified bidder, causing an extra cost of $5m.

Mr Deuba denies any wrongdoing and accused the body of being politically motivated, an allegation its officials deny.

The Melmachi drinking water project is funded by a number of donor agencies.

The biggest donor, the Asian Development Bank, ruled out corruption following a separate investigation.

One of the reasons the king gave for his takeover of power was to tackle corrupt politicians.




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