Karki was quite good at fund collection

Kathmandu, May 2:

At a time when civil servants are demanding the resignation of the Chief Secretary, Lokman Singh Karki, over a range of issues, it has come to light that he misused his power while collecting funds for the Civil Servants’ Wives’ Association (CSWA).

On January 2, an export organisation received a fax from the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers — fax No 4211055 — seeking financial assistance for the association that would be marking its first anniversary and also the 35th birthday of Crown Prince Paras. The THT has a copy of that fax message. Soon a letter from Sunita Karki, the president of the association and wife of the chief secretary followed. It said the contributions would go to the welfare fund of the family members of the civil servants. Executives of the firm said the Chief Secretary later telephoned them to say he has ‘high expectations’ from them.

“We had to donate the amount following Karki’s request,” an employee of the organisation said on condition of anonymity. The staff put in money from their own pockets and handed over a cheque of Rs 1,01,000 to the association. The staffers of the firm, then, had not been paid for three months.

Karki also used his power to get money from staffers of ministries and companies for the association. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is learnt to have contributed Rs 25,000, while the Ministry of General Administration donated Rs 2,00,000 from the amount allocated for the Civil Service Day celebrations, an official at the financial and administrative department said.

Sources at Singha Durbar say many companies were persuaded to pay hefty amounts to the association. Many attempts to reach the Chief Secretary for his comments failed.

However, Sunita Karki said the allegations are baseless. “We took the money for advertisements,” she said. She said the association has a record of the money received from different organisations, which she said would be published in the magazine Shakti. None of the members of the association interviewed could tell the total amount deposited in the bank.

Sarita Joshi, secretary of the CSWA, said the association has never sought financial aid from any organisation or ministry.

Haripriya Pandey, former general secretary of the association, said the association was formed to help poor women and wives of civil servants. Pandey had resigned in December after a dispute.