If a study recently carried out by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority is to be believed, units of Nepal Police are the least corrupt among the public offices in the country.
According to the study on the ‘Status of Corruption and Good Governance in Nepal’, land revenue office is the most corrupt public entity where service-seekers are forced into paying additional charges to even enjoy services as per the law. As many as 1,037 respondents (30.5 per cent) of all seven provinces said that LRP employees asked them for additional charges.
After LRO, Survey Office ranks as second most corrupt office with 15.9 per cent, rural municipality/municipality (14 per cent), Inland Revenue Office (12.2 per cent), Water Supply Office (6.4 per cent), District Agricultural Development Office (5.1 per cent), District Education Office (4.8 per cent), Land Revenue Office (4.7 per cent), Transport Management Office (2.9 per cent), Telecom Office (1.5 per cent), Road Division Office (1 per cent), Cottage and Small Industries Office (0.7 per cent) and District Police Office (0.1 per cent).
The CIAA said service-seekers were obliged to pay bribe money for their works in various layers without any justification. “Corruption has emerged as a big challenge to Nepal in terms of service delivery and good governance. General public do not get service without bribe from the employees responsible to provide it,” the report warned.
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 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. 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 of all provinces.
The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International on January 29 warned that the continued failure of most countries, including Nepal, to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world. Nepal fell two notches to 124th position in 2018 from 122nd in 2017 out of 180 countries despite scoring equal points of 31.
A version of this article appears in print on March 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.