10 persons booked for corruption

Kathmandu, June 12

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today filed a charge-sheet against 10 persons, including officials of Hajj Working Sub-committee, at the Special Court for allegedly embezzling millions of rupees, in tender process of air tickets for Nepali hajj pilgrims, in 2017.

Those booked on graft charge are Mohammad Shoaib (chairperson of the sub-committee); members Atabul Ansari, Mohammad Ibrahim Rain, Mohammad Jawardin Miya, Jamil Miya, Momina Banu Muslim, Majibul Sheikh; member-secretary Bhimraj Pokharel at Secretariat of Nepal Hajj Committee; accountant Tilakraj Panta; and Daud Hussein, director of Heena Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd.

According to the anti-graft body, the defendants had awarded the contract for air tickets to the second lowest bidder, Heena Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd, against the prevailing law. The secretariat had published a notice of invitation to tender on May 25, 2017. Responding to the tender, three bidders, Universal Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, Heena Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd and Sealinks Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd, had bid amount Rs 88,995, Rs 90,000 and Rs 95,300 round-trip ticket per person, respectively.

CIAA assistant spokesperson Madan Koirala said Shoaib and other defendants approved the bid document of Heena Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd, the second lowest bidder, by taking bribe from its director Hussein. Member-secretary Pokharel and accountant Panta had made payment to Heena Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd for air tickets, despite knowledge that it was against provisions stipulated in Section 21 of the Public Procurement Act.

The duo, in cahoots with others, had also released bid security of Rs 3.8 million, furnished by the bidder with mala fide intention, instead of confiscating the amount as per the law.

The round-trip air tickets were meant for the members of Muslim community visiting Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage. Hussein faced charge as per Section 8, while others were booked according to Section 22 of the act.