Citing dissatisfaction over the Nepal government Finance Ministry’s decision of non-disclosure of information on tax evaders, information requester Taranath Dahal of freedom1 Forum has filed an appeal with the National Information Commission (NIC) in line with the Right to Information (RTI) Regulation-2008.

Mr. Dahal submitted the appeal with the NIC on August 15 against the refusal by Ministry’s Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota and Information Officer Bhimsen Timilsina to provide access to information about VAT scam.

‘Ministry Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota has straightly violated the NIC’s July 12 directive to the Ministry to provide with detailed information of tax evaders within three days,’ the appeal states.

The National Information Commission (NIC) directed the Finance Ministry to provide the information as requested within three days or furnish proper justifications asking why it should not publish tax evaders’ list.

The NIC gave such directive to the Finance Ministry in response to an application filed by the freedom1 Forum complaining that the Finance Ministry denied providing the details of VAT fraud scam within three days of the application.

The freedom1 Forum, as per the Right to Information Act, had filed an application in the Finance Minister on July 10, 2011, seeking detail information the tax evaders and a complete photocopy of a report of a probe committee on VAT evasion but in vain.

After it could not get the details of tax evaders from the Finance Ministry, the Forum moved to the NIC for the information of VAT fraud scam.

No existing law and legal provisions in the country can save VAT defaulters; and every public body is obliged to furnish the information about the issues of public importance as per the Right to Information Act 2007.

Information requester Dahal appealed to the NIC to issue order to the public agency concerned to impart information pursuant to Clause 10(3)(a) of the RTI Act since there is no concrete legal base for refusing to access to information.

It seems that there is ill-intention to save criminals involving in multi-billion VAT scam by not disclosing information on tax evaders, the appeal added.

Article 9 and 10 of the Act deal with appeals against refusal to provide information as well as other failures to comply with the RTI Act. The requester may file an appeal to the NIC within 35 days if requester disagrees with the head.