Vigilance centre tells government to set standard for conferring medals, awards

Home ministry says 189 persons have refused to receive awards

Kathmandu, February 13

The National Vigilance Centre has made a 19-point recommendation to the Government of Nepal to control corruption and maintain good governance in public sector.

According to NVC, the recommendations were presented to the government through its annual report of fiscal 2019-2020, submitted to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli last week. It has recommended to fix standard for medals and awards to be conferred by the government on various personalities. Decisions taken by the government to honour controversial persons without checking and verifying their background had drawn public criticism in the past.

In 2018, the government had decided to confer medals on sacked chief justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli, suspended Senior Superintendent of Police Midhyananda Majhi and other persons with tainted image.

Some of the awardees had refused to receive the medals and decorations. According to a notice recently published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, as many as 189 persons had not received the awards in the past nine years. Some of them include, Damannath Dhungana, Nilkantha Upreti, Subodh Pyakurel, Kanakmani Dixit, Haribansha Acharya and Madan Krishna Shrestha.

The NVC has recommended the government to make technical audit an integral part of a development project, enforce rule of correction in the event of non-compliance by a project as indicated by the technical audit and expand anti-corruption watchdog in all provinces. The NVC also wants the government to develop a mechanism to share electronic information between the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the corruption watchdog, and bring financial irregularities in private sector under the ambit of law, in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to which Nepal is a party.

As per the recommendations, there is an urgent need for the government to end the practice of according special priority to limited number of construction entrepreneurs to discourage malpractice in big projects. The government has been told to fix the procurement rate of office items at the central level and allow the public entities to procure goods or materials under the prescribed rate. “It will not only maintain consistency in procurement price but ensures austerity in administrative business of public entities,” the corruption watchdog stated.

The NVC has urged the government to initiate stern action against the authorities, construction entrepreneurs and consultants, colluding with one another for delay and negligence in development activities.

According to the NVC, there were collusion between suppliers and pharmacies in supply and distribution of substandard drugs and medical equipment due to lack of effective inspection and monitoring by regulatory bodies.

“Patients are compelled to pay exorbitant charge for substandard drugs and medical equipment, which could further deteriorate their health,” it warned.

The corruption watchdog stressed on the need to make internal audit of public entities scientific, objective and credible by strengthening Financial Comptroller General Office, reduce backlog of arrears, provide training to drive light vehicle for all employees above the level of section officer at the federal, provincial and local levels, gradually so that expenditure for hiring drivers could be reduced, maintain uniformity in distribution of grants, and stop plotting of agricultural land and exploitation of natural resources.