Review electoral system for good governance, says CIAA chief

Kathmandu April 2

Good governance is unthinkable without reviewing the expensive electoral system of the country, according to Nabin Kumar Ghimire, chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

Ghimire was addressing lawmakers at the State Affairs of Good Governance Committee meeting today. “It is a wrong notion to think that the CIAA alone is capable of curbing corruption. It can however work honestly towards controlling it,” he said.

CIAA has witnessed an increase in the complaints of irregularities by 25.75 per cent at the local level in this fiscal year whereas the complains of irregularities last year was only 18 per cent, said Ghimire citing CIAA figures.

The complaints range to various issues including irregularities related to tax  collection, revenue, double payment for the same work, misuse of vehicles and fuel, social security fund distribution, public procurement or low quality construction, appointment and salary distribution without laws, scholarship and education material distribution, encroachment of public land plot, house construction against the building code and misused by user group, among others. “There is an audit system at provincial levels but there is no clarity as to who looks after local level’s economic activities,” Ghimire said.

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Lawmaker, Bijay Subba and Nepal Worker and Peasant Party Lawmaker, Prem Suwal pointed out that one of the major obstacles in the functioning of the CIAA was political pressure and that this did not surface in the CIAA presentation at the meeting. However,Ghimire refuted by saying that the CIAA has not faced any political pressure.

The CIAA demanded that the parliamentary panel make efforts to amend constitution and laws to ensure CIAA’s jurisdiction during investigation of cases under it.

This fiscal, the CIAA conducted 89 sting operations and it had also caught people red-handed in 97 bribery cases. Similarly, the CIAA has filed 220 corruption cases at the special court this fiscal year as against 194 cases last year. During the meeting, lawmakers including Mina Pandey, Rajendra Prasad Shrestha, Pampha Bhusal and Dilendra Prasad Badu raised issues related to corruption in various sectors. They alleged that the CIAA made arrests only on low profile cases without bothering to investigate high volume corruption cases. Ghimire said the CIAA will investigate the case of SEE question leak in Province-2.

As per the CIAA presentation at the meeting 1848 contracts under seven ministries worth Rs 118 billion were not completed within the stipulated time frame. However, the ministries have made advance payment worth of Rs 24 billion to the concerned contractors. It was also revealed during the meeting that a project that can be accomplished in mere six months remains incomplete even after eight years have elapsed.  “This has raised serious question on variation, extension of time frame and low bidding on those projects” Ghimire said.

Commissioner Ganesh Raj Joshi said irregularities should be discouraged since they serve as the entry point of corruption.