POKHARA, Nov 2: Nepal Rastra Bank, the banking sector regulator, has taken action against Bindu Kumar Thapa, chairman of Fewa Finance Limited, for using a proxy to acquire loan for personal use from his own finance company.
Considering the severity of the offense, the central bank has slapped a fine of Rs 500,000 on Thapa and banned him from assuming position on the board of any bank and financial institution for a period of five years.
The regulator has also directed Fewa, a category ´C´ financial institution, to immediately appoint another chairman.
Resham Bahadur Thapa, the firm´s CEO and company secretary, also confirmed the central bank´s action against Bindu Kumar. “But we have not been able to appoint anyone in his place as the company has not been able to call a board meeting due to the absence of Madhav Sigdel, a promoter of the bank, who is currently abroad for medical treatment,” he said.
Bindu, Kumar Thapa, a real estate and automobile trader, who is also the first vice president of Pokhara Chambers of Commerce and Industry, meanwhile, has threatened to move the court saying that the central bank´s action was prejudiced.
“The action was taken after I refused to provide a bribe of Rs 500,000 to settle the case, as demanded by one of the officials of the Rastra Bank,” said Thapa. “I haven´t done anything to harm the financial condition of the company.”
Refuting Thapa´s bribery charges, Nepal Rastra Bank Spokesperson Bhaskar Mani Gyawali said, “If any official of the central bank was involved in corrupt activities then an application can be filed demanding action against the official,” he said.
The central bank had suspected of irregularities at the finance company during a routine on-site inspection last year. At that time, the inspectors from the bank had obtained records of loans of Rs 50 million issued in the name of Parshu Ram Baral, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Man Bahadur Gurung. Of these borrowers, Baral and Surya Bahadur had later become promoters of the company.
Following this, the Rastra Bank had asked the company to immediately recoup the loan amount from the two. “Since they could not mobilize such a huge sum instantly, I lent them the amount they required,” said Thapa, who owns 250,000 units of shares at the company worth around Rs 70 million at current market value.
“Later when they returned the money, the officials of the finance company mistakenly deposited the amount in my account, disregarding the fact that the two were also promoters of the company.”