1-7 February 2013 #641

The cash Maoists, Online Khabar

27 January
With the party’s general convention in Hetauda only a week away, the UCPN(M) is preparing to funnel large sums of money for the occasion. Known as South Asia’s richest party, just how much money does it have?

When the Maoists joined mainstream politics in 2006, they had a meagre savings worth Rs 17,460. A year after they signed the peace treaty, their savings soared and reached Rs 1.5 million. This amount tripled in the third year of the peace process to Rs 4.4 million. The party had a field day when chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal became prime minister in 2008. It saved a further Rs 7.7 million in 2009, but faced huge losses (up to Rs 5 million) when Dahal resigned. According to figures posted at the Election Commission (EC), the party’s savings increased to Rs 4.3 million after deputy-chairman Baburam Bhattarai came to power and today the UCPN(M) has savings worth  Rs 7.7 million. 

Along with its savings, the party’s expenses have also grown enormously. The Maoists earned Rs 132 million in the last fiscal year and spent Rs 128 million during the same time. In 2007 their expenses (Rs 14.5 million) were nearly nine times less than today. The UCPN(M) has never been transparent about its finances and has no treasurers from the central committee to the lowest ranks. It has been accused of looting the state coffers during both Dahal and Bhattarai’s reign. 

However, after the EC threatened to cancel the registration of parties who would not submit audits, the Maoists, like all other parties, were compelled to submit a six-year record of income and expenditure. The Maoists told the EC that they had Rs 4.3 million in savings, but top leaders are now trying to hoodwink the general convention’s organising committee that the party is experiencing huge losses. 

Dahal, Bhattarai, and co are likely to feed the same lie to their rank and file in Hetauda to prevent another chair throwing incident like the one last July where cadre got angry after their leaders failed to give an account of the money that was meant for ex-combatants.

Read the original in Nepali