Ex-minister, others booked for embezzling billions

Kathmandu, December 7

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today filed corruption case against 21 persons, including former minister Bikram Pandey, accusing them of embezzling Rs 8.32 billion in the course of the construction of main canal of Sikta irrigation project, a national pride project.

The anti-graft body has charged them with using faulty design and low-quality materials in the construction of the main canal of the project.

Pandey was the chief of CTCE Kalika Construction JV that was involved in the construction of the project.

The CIAA has accused Pandey and Project Chief Ramesh Basnet of embezzling Rs 2.13 billion each, another Project Chief Dilip Bahadur Karki of embezzling Rs 1.56 billion, Senior Divisional Engineer Prakash Bahadur Karki Rs 90 million, SDE Krishna Prasad Subedi Rs 170 million, SDE Prem Raj Ghimire 100 million and SDE  Bir Singh Dhami Rs 110 million.

Project Chief Saroj Chandra Pandit, SDEs Yogendra Mishra, Shyam Bahadur Karki and Sushil Chandra Devkota,   authorised agent of CTCE/ Kalika Construction JV Yuba Raj Chhetri and  Managing Director of ERMC-ITECO Nepal JV Uddhav Raj Chaulagain have been accused of embezzlement.

Project Chief Sarvadev Prasad, SDEs Min Raj Dhakal, Superintendent Engineer Kamal Prasad Regmi (Irrigation Department), SDE Rabinay Babu Shrestha, Yub Raj Chhetri, authorised agent of ERMC-ITECO Nepal JV Hemnidhi Sharma and Team Leader/Irrigation Engineer of ERMC-ITECO Nepal JV Arun Kumar Chaudhary have been accused of not doing their job as per rules, said CIAA Spokesperson Rameshwar Dangal.

The CIAA stated in the charge sheet it filed at the Special Court today that the quality of the project was compromised due to lack of adequate supervision by technicians, consultants and contractors.

It added that most structures of the project’s canal section crumbled and the huge investment made in the project proved to be a waste of money.

CIAA charge sheet

  • Provisions to ensure quality work were not incorporated in the contract as it was signed in haste with the intent of committing corruption
  • Authorities okayed wrong design and incorporated incomplete, ambiguous provisions in the contract without going through the reports prepared in the past on the project
  • Those responsible for construction of the project did not conduct even the quality tests stated in the contract
  • Provisions that could ensure quality work in construction of the embankment of the main canal were overlooked
  • The joint in concrete lining was substandard
  • The main canal that was supposed to withstand the current of 50 cubic metres per second could not withstand lower volume of water