Local governments mired in corruption, reveals CIAA survey

Kathmandu, February 7

Most of the respondents, who were interviewed by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority during a study said corruption was endemic at local levels.

They said local level office-bearers and employees did not provide any service without bribe.

According to the finding of ‘Study on Corruption in Local Levels-2020’ published recently by the anti-graft body, 55.3 per cent of the respondents claimed they either paid or heard about under-the-table money solicited by the responsible officers of the local levels even as they met all requirements to receive the service.

Similarly, 55.2 per cent respondents said there were problems of systematic/institutional corruption and 30.3 per cent complained of policy level corruption.

Likewise, 34.1 per cent of respondents held political leadership (chief/deputy chiefs) responsible for the rampant corruption, 32.9 per cent held employees (non-gazetted third class officers, office assistants and section officers) responsible, 32.1 per cent found engineers/sub-engineers responsible, 30.4 per cent attributed it to chief administrative officers, 29 per cent to accountants, 21.6 per cent to intermediaries and 15.9 per cent said others.

Only 6.7 per cent respondents said that no one was involved in corruption. They indulge in corruption right from formulation to implementation of plans and programmes. Service-seekers are often denied service without bribe.

The key areas of corruption include planning, administration, financial administration, revenue, civil registration, education, building permit, health, supplies management, environment and women and children, indicates the study. Alcoholism, family needs, culture of nepotism/favouritism, skyrocketing inflation, lack of education and awareness, erosion of moral values and power obsession were encouraging the local level office-bearers, employees and others to indulge in corruption.

Though majority of the respondents claimed corruption was rampant at local levels, only two per cent of them filed complaints with the CIAA seeking legal action against the guilty. The remaining 98 per cent did not consider filing complaints with the anti-graft body.

At least 58.6 respondents urged the CIAA to adopt stringent measures to control corruption at local levels. Those who reported the corruption to the CIAA used e-mail, postal service hotline (107) and telephone for that purpose.

A total of 58.6 per cent of respondents said they were confident about initiating action by the anti-graft body against the corrupts, while 17.5 per cent did not believe on it capacity to do so. Similarly, 23.9 remained neutral.

As per the report, to control the rampant corruption, CIAA is considering to form a special task force comprising principal secretary of province, chief district officer and officials from National Vigilance Centre for effective monitoring and evaluation of the activities carried out by local levels.