CIAA orders 10 health officers suspended

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs to suspend 10 officers of the Revitalisation Division under the Department of Health Service with immediate effect and produce them before the anti-graft body for their alleged involvement in corruption.

Director, Revitalisation Division, Dr Anand Kumar Shrestha, senior public health administrator Madan Kumar Shrestha, senior public health officer Ratna Lal Shrestha, section officers Dolraj Sharma and Rup Narayan Khatiwada, accounts officer Yaduraj Sharma Nepal, pharmacist Bharat Mani Marahatta, public health inspectors Ram Sharan Adhikari and Ramji Ghimire and Kharidar Kabitaj Subedi are under CIAA scanner.

According to the CIAA, the director and other officers at the Revitalisation Division had misappropriated the state coffer by receiving advance payment in the name of launching health programmes under the approved annual budget programme in the fiscal years 2010/11 and 2011/12. “Upon examination of bills they had submitted to the DoHS for reimbursement, they were found to have embezzled the money by claiming the amount for the programmes that were never carried out,” states a press release issued by Shreedhar Sapkota, CIAA Joint-Attorney.

The officers had claimed reimbursement for rental charge of seminar hall of a hotel which did not have any such facility. They also submitted fake purchase bills and air tickets without purchasing goods or going abroad. They hoodwinked the authorities concerned by claiming daily travel allowance of the ‘foreign trip’. In some instances, they claimed air ticketing fare two times higher than the prevailing rate.

“They claimed reimbursement for meal and lunch 10 times a day from the same hotel, where non-existent seminars and workshops were held. It is sheer negligence on part of officials in a sensitive sector like health,” adds the release.

The MoHP has suspended the officers with effect from today, pledging to cooperate with the anti-graft body for investigation.

Source: THT