CIAA performance worries lawmakers

KATHMANDU: Lawmakers have expressed their concerns over what they termed 'non-active' role of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) at a time when the increasing policy-level corruption was destroying the nation, culture and the entire system.

Speaking at a meeting of the Legislature-Parliament's Good Governance and Monitoring Committee, lawmakers took time to criticise the government for 'promoting' policy-level corruption. They also criticised the CIAA for failing to carry out result oriented works due to fear of being impeached, adding it was loosing public trust as a result of its activities sometimes indulging in corruption.

Committee member and former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal said it was a matter of shame that the sector like education was widely gripped by the corruption. The CIAA annual report for the fiscal year 2015/16 read that the CIAA in this period received the most 5,671 complaints about irregularities in the education sector. The main challenge of the hour was to control corruption in this sector, he stressed, adding that the CIAA should keep its close eye on the possibility of corruption in big projects.

Lawmaker Ambika Rajbanshi, expressing her concern over the 'tendency of supporting proposal brought by a particular party with ill motive just to get a ministerial post in return', questioned whether it was not corruption to bargain for getting a specific ministry as per the interest of a particular party or an individual.

Another lawmaker Janakraj Joshi informed that while going through the report of the CIAA, it seemed that the anti-graft body was developing into an industry of collecting complaints, adding further that investigations into reports that some lawmakers were having  DV/PR be carried out.

Lawmaker Akwal Aham Saha insisted that the CIAA performance and activities should be impartial and accountable to the people. Amanlal Modi asked why the CIAA attention was focused only on bureaucracy while the corruption was believed to be rampant in the political sector.

Kripasur Sherpa demanded that all those found abusing authority be brought to justice.

Lawmaker Chandreshwor Jha said that Commission has been expected to discourage the trend of clearing the bill of tens of thousands of rupees in sharing at the end of fiscal year to finish the budget while Anita Pariyar said that Commission should prepare the action plan viewing the record of increasing corruption cases at the office where there is flow of high number of service recipients and implement the action plan.

Similarly, Uday Nepali Shrestha said that jurisdiction of the Commission can be amended while Harkabol Rai said that the activities of Commission should be effective to reduce corruption cases.

Responding to queries raised by lawmaker, Chief Commissioner Deep Basnyat expressed determination that the Commission would not leave anyone involved in any-type of crime. He said that the CIAA should get the authority to initiate legal process by bringing those in public post under its jurisdiction if they carried out illegal activities.

Basnyat said that it was necessary to describe about the policy-level decisions, saying capacity of decision makers has decreased in recent period.

Out of 24,691 complaints filed at the Commission in 2016/17, 16,694 complaints were settled.