Kathmandu, January 14
The findings of a study published by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority yesterday showed that corruption was rampant in the local levels where the office-bearers and employees rarely provide services without bribe money.
According to the ‘Study on Corruption in Local Levels’, the amount of bribe money to be offered or given to the concerned official depended on the nature of service needed. Service-seekers are often asked for bribe for issuance of recommendation letter and registration of personal events. Most of the money accumulated by local level office-bearers come from development works. They indulge in corruption from formulation to implementation of plans and programmes.
Most of the respondents said that chiefs of local levels, engineers/overseers and chief administrative officers were responsible for growing corruption.
They embezzle funds in collusion with one another to serve their personal interest. As per the study, 55.2 per cent of the respondents said that there was systematic/institutional corruption, while 30.3 per cent claimed that policy corruption was a major problem in local levels.
A total of 14.9 per cent respondents interviewed by the anti-graft body said that they were victims of the rampant corruption prevailed in local levels.
Similarly, 55.3 per cent of respondents observed that corruption was all pervasive in local levels, while 27.3 per cent asserted that there was more risk of bribery and corruption than ever before. Likewise, 28 per cent said that the level of corruption was unchanged. The anti-graft body stated that policy corruption had been a defining feature of governance in the local levels.
The tendency of formulating politically motivated laws and policies instead of considering people’s larger benefit had institutionalise policy corruption.
Policymakers reap benefits by making policies and taking decisions in their own favour.
Political leaders and high-level government officials are responsible for policy corruption not only in the federal level, but also provincial and local levels.
At least 58.6 per cent respondents urged the CIAA to be more active to control corruption at the local levels. The anti-graft body informed that as many as 3,000 persons from 15 districts of all seven province were interviewed on the basis of simple random sampling to collect qualitative and quantitative data. It adopted the descriptive cross-sectional method of study.
All the respondents had received service from local levels before.
The report has also offered a number of suggestions to the local government for making progress in the fight against rising corruption.
The report further stresses the need to formulate laws on construction work and carry out public hearing before and after implementation of any project or programme, and develop effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism comprising one-third number of the targeted community.
The CIAA has also suggested inclusion of subjects of good governance and anti-corruption in the school and university curricula.
If these subjects are included in the curriculum, the country can produce capable and honest human resources in future. It will also help instil a sense of integrity and accountability in citizens.
Another suggestion the report has offered is to increase salary and other facilities of the government employees to distract them from bribery as service-seekers are often denied service without bribe. “The government should be determined in initiating legal action against corrupt officials without any political prejudice,” it suggested.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft body said it would consider formulating a special task force comprising principal secretary of province, chief district officer and officials from National Vigilance Centre for monitoring and evaluation of activities in local levels.
The Interim Constitution of 2007 had given the CIAA authority to probe improper acts but the new constitution took it away.
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.