Corruption at policy making level worries anti-graft body

Kathmandu, February 14

Policy corruption has been a defining feature of governance in Nepal and laws usually serve the interest of a handful of persons, shows a study recently conducted by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

The report on the ‘Status of Corruption and Good Governance in Nepal, 2019’ states that the tendency of formulating of politically motivated laws and policies instead of considering people’s larger benefit has institutionalised policy corruption in the country. A total of 30.4 per cent respondents, who were interviewed, said policymakers framed and amended laws without having regard to public interest.

“Policymakers reap benefits by making policies and taking decisions in their favour. Political leaders and high-level government officials in the federal level are more responsible for policy corruption,” the report stated. Similarly, 27.2 per cent blamed the present situation of the country on procedural corruption, 10 per cent on small-time corruption and 6.9 per cent on institutional corruption.

Similarly, 23.1 per cent of the respondents said political parties were to blame for growing corruption, followed by government secretaries and departmental heads (15.1 per cent), advisors and aides to ministers (14.4 per cent) and the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (13.2 per cent).

“Leaders of political parties, high-level government officials and advisors to ministers work in collusion to make a policy decision in their favour and for the benefit of a handful of persons,” it stated.

The anti-graft body informed that 3,400 persons were interviewed on the basis of simple random sampling in the survey conducted in 17 districts. The report has also offered a number of suggestions to the government for making progress in the fight against rising corruption in public offices. It stresses the need to incorporate the subjects of good governance and anti-corruption into the school and university level curriculum. 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.