The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today filed a charge-sheet against 27 persons, including the chairperson of Likhu Tamakoshi Rural Municipality, Ramechhap, at the Special Court for embezzling around Rs 42.1 million during an electrification programme.

Among those sued by the anti-graft body include rural municipality Chairperson Govinda Bahadur Khadka, Chief Administrative Officer Raju Prasad Neupane, accountant Durga Bahadur Dimdong, proprietor of Kathmandu-based Pike Construction Pvt Ltd., and 21 officials of various electrification users' committees.

According to the CIAA, rural municipality chairperson Khadka in cahoots with other defendants had procured construction materials and equipment for electrification in the wards 1, 4 and 5 of the local level without inviting tenders. He unilaterally formed electrification users' committee at each ward to serve himself in misusing the state fund.

It has also been found that Khadka did not even conduct a technical audit of the electrification. The construction materials were procured from the Pike Construction Pvt Ltd directly in contravention of the existing Public Procurement Act and Rule. As per the law, any public body is required to make procurement through open competition among qualified bidders by inviting tender.

CIAA spokesperson Shyam Prasad Bhandari said the anti-graft body had sought maximum punishment against the defendants, along with a fine equivalent to the amount in question under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2002.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 1, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.