Corruption rampant at local levels: CIAA

A recent study carried out by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has pointed out rampant corruption at the village development committees (VDCs), municipalities and district development committees (DDCs) in eight of the districts.

Probe panels deployed in the eight districts under the coordination of SSP Yadav Raj Khanal concluded that anomalies abound during the distribution of social security allowances and in the implementation of development infrastructure projects at the local level. The probe reports were filed after field trips made to Gorkha, Ramechhap, Taplejung, Makawanpur, Mustang, Jumla, Bajura and Rautahat districts over the period of a month.

Submitting the reports a week ago, the panels suggested the CIAA swing into action wherever corruption is rampant.

“We have received the probe panel reports. The CIAA will go into action as per their suggestions. We are still studying the reports,” CIAA Spokesman Shridhar Sapkota told Republica. However, he declined to divulge any details contained in the reports.

The anti-graft watchdog has decided to launch investigations on the basis of complaints with regard to misappropriations in distributing social security allowances, implementation of infrastructure projects including roads, formation of consumer committees and awarding of contracts at the local bodies.

As per the CIAA investigations, local level officials are found to be not accountable in the discharge of their duties and one has to offer bribes for prompt service.

“The bidding process at the local level is not transparent. There could be a nexus between political parties, officials at local bodies, middlemen and contractors in the construction of development projects,” said a top official requesting anonymity. The official informed that the ratio of corruption is much higher when it comes to the distribution of social security allowances.

“Relatively speaking, the distribution of social security allowances at the local level appears more non-transparent,” the official said adding, “We have suggested to the CIAA that there should be prompt action against government officials involved in corruption.”

Similarly, the probes found that infrastructure projects are initiated only in the rainy season at the end of the fiscal year. “Development projects are started at the end of the fiscal year to show that the allocated budget is used up,” the official said adding, “This shows ill intention and a strong nexus between local level officials and contractors in the construction of local-level projects.”

As in other parts of the country, the CIAA investigations also found local roads crumbling after just a couple of months of their construction.

The probe panels suggested action against some local development officers and VDC secretaries for their involvement in anomalies.

The CIAA panels held rigorous discussions with citizens, government officials and the stakeholders in the districts during the field trips.

“The VDC secretaries don´t stay at their offices for many days even though people go there seeking urgent and essential services. Similarly, the public charters supposed to be on display at government offices are either not there or are not easily visible,” the official said.

Source: Republica