KATHMANDU, JUNE 17

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has continued its mission to carry out preventive measures against corruption regardless of the adverse situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The anti-graft body arrested five employees of Dillibazar-based Land Reform and Land Revenue Office with bribe of Rs 850,000, they received from a service-seeker, yesterday. Those taken into custody are non-gazetted first class officers Uddhav Sapkota, Narayan Prasad Pokharel, Nawaraj Ghimire and Gopal Khadka, and non-gazetted second class officer Deepak Khanal.

Acting on a complaint that they were soliciting bribe, a special team deployed from the CIAA arrested them with the cash from Samakhusi.

Joint Secretary Pradip Kumar Koirala, CIAA spokesperson, said they demanded the bribe money and received Rs 850,000 as kickback for facilitating them with plotting of land. He said the anti-graft body had launched further investigation into the bribery.

According to statistics of the CIAA, it conducted eight sting operations leading to arrest of 15 public post holders since March 24 when the government imposed nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. They were caught either in the act of receiving the bribe or after pocketing it. Despite repeated warnings by the CIAA against the public post holders about its intensified sting operations, bribery continues unabated at government offices.

The CIAA said it had been mobilising its employees at corruption-prone public offices, in guise of service-seekers for integrity test of government officials. “Micro-surveillance and rapid action procedures were implemented to swing into action against government employees involved in irregularities and corruption.

It is expected to improve the public service delivery system by controlling corrupt tendency of officials,” said Spokesperson Koirala. A survey conducted by the CIAA on ‘Status of Corruption and Good Governance in Nepal-2019’ has categorically identified fourteen public offices, which are most corruption-sensitive and where services are denied without bribe. Some of the top government offices prone to corruption include land revenue office, survey office, inland revenue office, municipality/rural municipality office, water supply office, and district administration office, among others.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.