Nepal | August 05, 2020

FNCCI agro offshoot under CIAA scanner

The AEC has been accused of practising lack of transparency

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Anomalies in the Agro Enterprise Centre — the agriculture wing of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry — have once again resurfaced as the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has initiated a probe into financial transactions made by AEC in the past several years.

Sources at FNCCI said the CIAA had recently written a letter to the federation asking it to submit all documents related to income and expenditure at AEC. The anti-graft body has also sought details of Sworgadwari Seed Company, Agri Tech Ltd, Rasuwagadi Agro Farm and Rautahat Fishery and Seed Industry that were brought into operation with support from the AEC under FNCCI.

The AEC has been running different agriculture-projects under FNCCI across the country. Of late, questions were raised on financial irregularities within the AEC and its projects. Under the AEC, the FNCCI has been running over half-adozen agriculture projects with the financial support of the government and other development partners.

Anomalies in the AEC reached a peak in January last year after the then FNCCI treasurer Gyanendra Lal Pradhan stepped down from his post over his conversation with the media about possible irregularities in AEC.

Following his leaked remarks on the anomalies in AEC, the FNCCI had sought clarification from Pradhan. Ultimately, Pradhan tendered his resignation from his post at FNCCI.

Following his resignation, Pradhan had further raised issues regarding the lack of transparency in AEC, particularly the practice of preparing separate financial statements and audit reports of AEC and FNCCI despite having a single personal account number.

Though other office bearers had not been officially commenting on the irregularities in AEC, they had been unofficially accepting that anomalies did exist in AEC.

The CIAA starting a fresh probe into AEC also means that the current leadership of FNCCI, led by President Bhawani Rana, will be under pressure while the organisation is preparing to hold its election for the new executive committee in the near future.

Rana will be under pressure to handle this issue as she had served as the coordinator of AEC for several years in the past.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


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