- TRANSFORMER SCAM
Kathmandu, March 28
The Special Court today issued a verdict instructing the government to slap a fine of Rs 461.88 million on various Chinese companies that had supplied substandard transformers to Nepal Electricity Authority, bringing a closure to the multi-million rupee transformer procurement scam.
The related cases were filed by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority some three years back.
The bench of Justices Mohan Raman Bhattarai, Narendra Kumar Siwakoti and Mahesh Prasad Pudasaini, today, passed the verdict on four different cases brought by the CIAA. The court issued its verdict slapping a total fine of Rs 214.5 million on Chinese transformer supplier firms, Li Dao Gu (Rs 99.36 million) and Hubei Sunlight Electric Co (Rs 115.14 million) as it has been proved that they were supplying shoddy transformers to NEA.
The court also slapped a fine worth Rs 129.84 million on the supplier named Pra Patra. The court also issued a verdict ordering recovery of Rs 58.77 million each from two other suppliers — Hong Ouyang and Ou Yang Shi, and the concerned officials of the two companies have been sentenced to a year in prison.
The court also sentenced Hu Zheng Kiyong, manager of the supplier of China-based company Hu Bei Sunlight Electric Co, to two- year imprisonment in a separate case filed by the CIAA. The authority had alleged that the scam took place in collusion with NEA officials and the manager of the company.
The court also sentenced the then managing director of NEA Rameshwor Yadav to three years and five-month jail and slapped a fine of Rs 135,000. Other NEA officials, namely Chiranjivi Sharma Poudel and Kailash Prasad Atal, have been sentenced to four-month imprisonment and have been slapped a fine of Rs 15,000 each.
NEA engineers, namely, Surendra Yadav, Surendra Prasad Paneru, Shekhar Kumar Dutta and Surendra Raj Joshi, have been sentenced to three-month imprisonment and a penalty of Rs 15,000 each has been slapped on them.
The court, however, acquitted former managing director Jivendra Jha and then acting managing director Tikaram BC and other staffers of NEA, namely, Harish Bahadur Pal, Suresh Kumar Katuwal, Sushil Khanal, Narayan Prasad Choudhary and Saroj Shrestha citing lack of evidence of their involvement in the case.
Likewise, the court also acquitted Zou Yi Tian, staff of the Hubei Sunlight Electric Co and local agent Amar Rajbhandari, proprietor of Prime International.
In one of the biggest scams to be exposed in the country, CIAA had filed a case against 22 NEA officials and Chinese suppliers.
Hubei Sunlight Electric Co had even offered to replace transformers supplied by the company after the case was brought to light.
Out of around 1,900 transformers that the company had offered to replace, a few transformers were replaced but other suppliers absconded after the case was exposed.
During the CIAA probe, it was revealed that the Chinese suppliers had used aluminum wires instead of copper wires and transformers supplied to NEA lacked proper security features.
These resulted in unstable transmission of electricity and explosion of transformers even with slight fluctuation in current flow.