DAO launches probe against Red Cross

Published On: June 29, 2016 12:30 AM NPT By: Ramesh Khatiwada

DOLAKHA, June 29:The District Administration Office (DAO), Dolakha has started investigation on financial irregularities in the district chapter of Red Cross following complaints from locals and the organization's central committee.

Locals had padlocked Red Cross' office on Sunday to pressurize the authorities to start investigation on the matter. “We saw no other alternative except to padlock the office until the Red Cross produces the details of its expenses,” said Charitra Krishna Joshi, Nepali Congress leader from Bhimeshwar municipality-2.

The Red Cross has been accused of being involved in huge financial irregularities through their relief distribution, rescue and reconstruction programs following the devastating earthquake last year.

District members of the Red Cross themselves have accused the organization of amassing huge sum of money through forged bills, purchasing sub-standard relief materials, misusing field allowance of employees, among many other fraudulent activities.

One of the members of Red Cross, seeking anonymity, said monitoring conducted by Swiss authorities about four months ago had brought into light the severe corruption in the district-based Red Cross. According to him, the central committee of Red Cross had issued warning to the district-based Red Cross and recently shut its entire program in the district.

“The monitoring team had discovered forged bills and pressurized the management to bring forth all the expenses incurred after the quake. However, the district president Tika Narayan Pradhan has refused to provide expenses details. Everybody knows there is rampant irregularity going on,” said one of the district members.

Locals of Dolakha Bazar have been organizing protests and warned that they would expel the district's Red Cross president if he fails to show the expenses details. Local leaders of all four big parties have been leading the protests.

Meanwhile, district president Pradhan claimed there have been no irregularities of any kind. “I have been involved in Red Cross for 30 years with the sole motive to serve people selflessly. We are not involved in financial irregularities of any sort,” he said.

Chief District Officer (CDO) Pushpa Raj Shahi informed that they are consulting with the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for investigation into the case.

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