EDITORIAL: Corruption scores

The most shameful practice is that the cabinet doles out millions of rupees to any leader or any influential person, including those convicted by court on corruption charges

It is not surprising that Nepal has further slipped four positions in the Corruption Perception Index of  Transparency International (TI) which released its annual report of 168 countries on Wednesday. Nepal was at the 126th position with a score of 29 points in 2014. This time the country has been placed at 130th place with a score of 27 points just ahead of Afghanistan which is marred by prolonged civil war and external invasion and Bangladesh. Bhutan has fared well in terms of corruption perception index placing it at 27th position with a score of 65. Denmark and Sweden are the two Scandinavian countries which are at the top list scoring more than 90 points. TI has listed several other countries as the most corrupt ones which have failed to score 50-point mark. Most corrupt countries listed in the TI index are plagued by protracted civil wars, sluggish economic growth, lack of good governance, low level of press freedom and overall social perception about corruption. Cameroon, Iran, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Ukraine are other countries which share Nepal’s position with the same score.

TI has said that high level of press freedom, access to budget information so that public knows where the money comes from and where it is spent, high level of integrity among people in power and the free and fair judiciary that does not discriminate between rich and poor are the major indicators that make a country free from corruption. Other independent constitutional bodies also play a vital role in promoting corruption-free society. Prevalence of bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and irresponsible public institutions that do not care for public complaints and needs are the root causes of widespread corruption that have plagued those countries with low scoring points.

Nepal has also enacted several laws and formed anti-graft constitutional body like Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to deal with corruption. Another body called National Vigilant Centre under the Prime Minister also looks into corruption cases. Several parliamentary committees and court of law also deal with corruption. But the state mechanisms have failed to control corruption as per the expectations. It is an open secret that politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, media persons and members of so-called civil society are all engaged in one or other forms of corruption. The people in power corridors, be they in the government or in opposition, do not feel ashamed of blowing away tax-payers’ money for expensive medical treatment and foreign junket. The most shameful practice is that the cabinet can dole out millions of rupees to any leader or any influential person, including those convicted by the court on corruption charges, and can offer life-long facilities to people after their retirement from public life unlawfully. But the court and the anti-graft body do not take any legal action against such unlawful largess. Such acts from the powers-that-be will only help create a fertile ground for more corruption in society. Ultimately it is the society and common people who bear the brunt of such moral turpitude. Corruption cannot be controlled unless the politicians and bureaucrats come clean of their jobs.

Managing wastes

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is all set to manage waste by adopting the consortium management that entails the segregation of non-biodegradable and biodegradable. This would adopt an integrated waste management project in two wards of the metropolis at first. The KMC has a difficult time in managing the household wastes. This is because it lacks the resources and technology. Now, a modern equipment will be installed at the Teku Waste Transfer Centre able to treat 300 metric tonnes of organic waste, produce 300 kg of LPG and also 13,500 litres of treated water every day.

Besides, through waste management as much as 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission would be reduced every year by the management of non-biodegradable wastes helping reduce the ill-effects of climate change. As the nation is confronting an energy crunch the wastes could be converted to generate energy. A ‘Save the Environment Group’ is in the offing to garner the cooperation of the local people in the bid to make Kathmandu a cleaner city.