KATHMANDU, Dec 24: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has said it received the largest number of complaints against irregularities related to federal affairs and local governments in 2019/20.
Of the 25,152 reported cases of corruption at the CIAA last year, a maximum of 30.07 percent were related to federal affairs and local governments, according to the CIAA 30th annual report that the anti-graft body submitted to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Thursday. Irregularities in the education sector and land administration accounted for 16.36 percent and 8.29 percent respectively.
The CIAA report shows that the government has failed to check corruption cases at the local level. The anti-graft agency survey report titled “Study on Corruption and Good-Governance in Nepal-2075”, released in 2019 also showed that municipalities and rural municipalities were among the most corrupt entities in the country. “The highest level of corruption was found in the planning and implementation process, with engineers, employees and executive officers, who have the responsibility of leading and carrying out works, as being the most corrupt,” states the report.
Similarly, a study conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank in 2019 also shows that there is a massive problem of transparency and accountability along with the local resources being captured by influential groups were the main cause of growing corruption at the local level.
Considering the province-wise records of the CIAA, the largest numbers of complaints were from Province 2, which accounts 23.87 percent followed by Bagmati Province with 19.59 percent and Lumbini Province with 10.79 percent.
Of the total complaints filed at the CIAA last year, it settled 16,952 (67.5 percent). In the three decades of its establishment, the anti-graft body has filed 2,878 cases at the court. This accounts an average of 96 cases filed per year.
The CIAA in the last fiscal year filed 441 cases against 1,212 defendants at the Special Court and recovered Rs 2.53 billion in cash penalty. Of the total defendants, three ministers, nine high ranking government officials and 355 section officers were grilled by the anti-graft body.
The CIAA has asked the government to enforce a national code of conduct to develop an integrated effort to check corruption that has been on the rise in government bodies, non-government agencies and the private sector. It has also recommended to the government to promote paperless documentations and digitized payment systems to reduce the influences of middlemen in a number of sectors including the offices related to local bodies, land revenue, land measurement, foreign employment, tax collection and foreign trade, among others.