KATHMANDU, May 22: A complaint was filed on Tuesday at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) against alleged misuse of USAID funds by the officials of the Central Department of Anthropology (CDA), Tribhuvan University (TU).
The officials of the CDA were found embezzling funds provided by the USAID. Two different projects worth about Rs 140 million are being illegally operated in the name of the CDA, according to a probe report submitted to the Office of Vice Chancellor, TU.
On Sunday, the office of the TU Vice-Chancellor called a meeting to discuss the report. Following the meeting, VC Office wrote a letter to the CDA Chief Dambar Dhwaj Chemjong for taking action on Tuesday, according to the VC Office.
“We came to know that TU Registrar Dilli Ram Upreti was not keen about initiating action against his relative former CDA head Prof Laya Prasad Upreti, who is the main accused in the irregularities as per the report. Registrar Upreti and Prof Laya are close relatives,” the complainant said requesting anonymity, adding, “Instead of taking action, the CDA chief hid the VC Office directive.”
According to the CIAA, the registration number of the complaint filed on Tuesday is C-151, 2018/2019. The case has demanded stern action against corrupt TU officials fingered by the probe report.The probe report also states that USAID funds were misused with the involvement of Chemjong. A four-member probe committee including Prof Amma Raj Joshi, Prof Dr Nilam Kumar Sharma, lecturer Avatar Subedi and Rajendra Khanal recently submitted its report on projects operated by the CDA. The committee was formed on November 29, 2018 as per the decision of TU Executive Council made on November 24, 2018.
According to the report obtained by Republica which is yet to be made public, the CDA signed an agreement with USAID on April 23/26, 2017 for a project worth Rs 130 million (US$ 1,299,164.00), which was titled "A Study on State of Social Inclusion in Nepal 2017 (SOSIN)". The Department signed another agreement on April 16/17, 2018 with US-based organization Open Society Foundations for another project worth US$ 119,702.00, which was titled "Inclusive Democracy and Local Governance in Nepal."
The USAID has already transferred Rs 72,004,375 to the bank account of SOSIN at Nepal Bank Ltd, Kirtipur. The bank account was opened before the project agreement was signed.
However, the proposals of both the projects were not discussed or decided at the CDA meeting, says the probe committee report.