CIAA submits report, eyes more powers

Kathmandu, January 13

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today submitted its annual report to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari urging the authorities concerned to clearly define policy issues that are being misused by many ministries to evade CIAA action.

In its 328-page report, the CIAA stated that since it did not have the authority to look into policy issues endorsed by the Cabinet, many ministries that were supposed to take ministry-level decisions on public procurement issues, were getting those issues endorsed by the Cabinet to avoid CIAA’s action.

The CIAA stated that it should have the jurisdiction to investigate improper acts of public office holders, as improper acts and corruption were closely linked. Letting CIAA probe improper acts is necessary because an issue of corruption may arise when a complaint about improper action is scrutinised and vice-versa. Improper acts and corruption cannot be treated as two separate issues,” the CIAA stated in its report.

The Interim Constitution of 2007 had given the CIAA authority to probe improper acts but the new constitution took it away.

The CIAA urged the government to sign mutual legal assistance treaties with other countries and to bring illegally earned money that Nepalis had parked in foreign countries.

The CIAA also sought authority to probe acts of private organisations, stating that there were chances of collusion between public officers and corrupt office bearers of I/NGOs and cooperatives to embezzle funds.

The anti-graft body added that the Department of Money Laundering Investigation should be brought under its ambit.

It added that as per the spirit of UN Convention against Corruption, the government should give adequate salaries to government employees and give them justifiable pay hike, keeping in mind the pace of economic development in the country.

The CIAA added that the expensive election system should be reviewed as it could become a reason for increase in corruption.

It urged the government to discourage the practice of transferring funds or making payments of large amount towards the end of the fiscal year.

It added that provisions should be made to ensure that all donations that political leaders and parties received should be channelised through banking system and the process of such transfer should be transparent.

The CIAA added that 46.7 per cent respondents told CIAA surveyors that local level government officials and office bearers indulged in corrupt practices.

Its report added that the CIAA handled 24,085 complaints in fiscal 2018-19, including 16,997 new complaints. Of them, it settled 15,527 complaints (64 per cent) in fiscal 2018-19.

In the last fiscal, the CIAA filed record 351 cases in the Special Court and sought to recoup Rs 4.5 billion.

The CIAA has filed 2,437 cases in courts across India since the day of its inception and on an average it filed only 84 cases in courts annually.

It stated that it wanted the government to enact laws as per the spirit of UN Convention against Corruption to ensure security of experts, witnesses and informants.