The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has filed a chargesheet against 14 persons, including chief administrative officer, construction entrepreneur, and elected representatives of Mohanyal Rural Municipality, Kailali, at the Special Court for embezzlement of public assets through revenue leakage.

Those sued by the anti-graft body in the court yesterday are late chairperson of the rural municipality Nawal Singh Rawal, acting chairperson Pujadevi Budha, seven ward chairs, three ward members, chief administrative officer Ganesh Datta Ojha and construction entrepreneur Makar Bahadur Shah.

According to the CIAA, the elected representatives had embezzled around Rs 5.41 million in cahoots with CAO Ojha and construction entrepreneur Shah on the pretext of waiving off sales tax and VAT applicable to river products of various streams flowing through the rural municipality.

The elected representatives, including late chairperson Rawal, acting chairperson (then vice-chairperson) Budha, among others, decided to grant sales tax and VAT exemption to construction entrepreneur Shah through an executive decision.

However, they had received the sales tax and VAT from the construction entrepreneur without depositing these into the revenue account before sharing it among the elected representatives, and CAO, among others. The CAO is responsible for duly receiving the revenue and crediting it to the revenue account.

Similarly, construction entrepreneur Shah had collected river products without depositing the sales tax and VAT as per the prescribed account.

He did not claim and receive the certified revenue payment receipt from the rural municipality. As per the CIAA, though chairperson Rawal is dead, the amount in question will be recovered from his heir in line with the National Criminal Procedure (Code) Act, 2017.

The defendants have been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2002. The anti-graft body said it had claimed maximum punishment along with the recoverable amount worth Rs 5.41 million from the elected representatives and CAO.

However, the CIAA has sought Rs 5.6 million from the construction entrepreneur.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 17, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.