KATHMANDU, Jan 1: The year 2019 was remarkable for Republica and its readers in many ways. Some investigative stories our journalists came up with are worth celebrating at the end of the year. Here we discuss a few of those stories - the revelations related with Tootle, Lalita Niwas, Grande Hospital, Yeti Holdings, Everest Liaison Officers and PM Constituency Fund that greatly shook various sectors.
In January 2019, Republica reported Tootle's tax troubles. It was found that the company had collected 13 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) from riders for 19 months without paying tax to the government. Tootle collected VAT from the riders since its inception in January 2017 to July 2018. The tax issue dragged it into controversy resulting in its admission to correct its going in the future.
Lalita Niwas land scam
Run in a series by Republica and its sister publication, Nagarik, this year, the scam made everyone raise their eyebrows. Although an investigation was carried out under the leadership of the current government, the public is watching whether it can cleanly settle things and bring priceless land of the government back to its fold.
Grande Hospital Exposed
Grande Hospital came under acute criticism after Republica reported three strong medical cases it had mishandled. The story published in September exposed a shocking culture of silence, secrecy and massive breach of medical protocols in the handling of sensitive cases. The medical council warned the hospital after a detailed study of one of the cases, while the 'victim party' is preparing to take it to the court.
Seven projects launched by PM in his constituency
In an apparent move to consolidate his voter base, Prime Minister KP Oli launched seven big projects worth billions of rupees in his constituency, Jhapa – 5. The report published in February about a total of Rs 351 billion for the seven projects in Jhapa was of keen interest to many.
LOs Mt Everest
Republica in July revealed the chilling collusion among liaison officers, expedition companies and bureaucrats at the ministry to award Mount Everest summit certificates to fake climbers. Individuals who never went to the base camp to carry out their duties as LOs were exposed in the report.
Republica in September exposed the pathetic implementation of the much-hyped health insurance program meant for poor Nepalis. Official figures suggest that only Rs 2.59 billion (43 percent) was spent, out of the Rs 6 billion allocated for the last fiscal year.
Republica had revealed about the Yeti businesses and public property under its domain a few months ago. Followed by other media as well in the course of time, Yeti's expansions came to even broader light. Cartoonists and opinion writers have mocked the present and past governments 'for making Yeti more power than itself'.