Gaur Municipality found involved in 30 m social security allowance scam

RAUTAHAT: The nexus between the Gaur Municipality, Agriculture Development Bank staff and other responsible authorities has embezzled Rs 30 million funds of social security allowance in the district recently.

Non-gazzetted class two officer at the Municipality Vinod Paswan and Information Officer and contact person Saroj Lal Das have been found to be involved in misusing government seal and signatures for issuing the card for the allowance.

Community Development Department of the Municipality and other responsible authorities were involved in the heist for a financial motive.

At least 500 disqualified people were collecting the allowance meant for the elderly citizens, single women, disabled and minority people, for the last three fiscal years.

Acting on a tip-off, an extended office of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority in Hetaunda had written to the Rautahat District Office to investigate into the case.

Chief District Officer Uddav Bahadur Thapa instructed the Agriculture Development Bank to verify the citizenship certificate before releasing the funds to the recipients.

At least 500 disqualified people have turned to the Gaur Municipality of late, after the Bank denied to release the social security allowance to them.

According to Municipality official, CIAA had sent a written notification on June 12 and 17, however, the Gaur Municipality have failed to respond to it.

Meanwhile, the contact person Das said that it's too early to comment on the case as the investigation is underway. "I accept that my signatures have been used to make fake cards," he added.

Municipality staff Uttam Bhattarai said that Paswan has remained absent since Friday. "We have been requesting Paswan to attend the office, however, he has not showed off in the office," Bhattarai added.

CDO Thapa said that some of the Municipality staff were allegedly involved in issuing social security allowance cards to disqualified people for misusing state coffers. "Those involved in the scam would be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002, concerned office have been directed to identify those disqualified people and return funds from them," Thapa added.

It has been learned that the Municipality's Executive Officer has been hiding in Kathmandu after the heist came to light.

Earlier, the Agriculture Development Bank had suspended one and demoted other staff for their involvement in the scam.

Fake certificate. Courtesy: Prabhat Kumar Jha
Fake certificate. Courtesy: Prabhat Kumar Jha