The spate of misuse of state funds continues even as we have been constantly exposing the actors who are responsible for it. The latest investigation by Republica has found that then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal doled out Rs 167 million to 535 Nepali Congress and Maoist Center cadres on June 2, 2017. In doing so, Dahal not only drained the state exchequer for petty interests of his party and Nepali Congress but also blatantly violated election code of conduct. Moreover, governments since 2006 have distributed Rs 4 billion to their near and dear ones. Virtually every responsible state actor—from the President to ministers to top government bureaucrats —has been found misusing, or trying to, the taxpayer money in the name of purchasing vehicles, unnecessary foreign visits and so on. These episodes speak volumes about the kind of state mechanism we are dealing with on a daily basis. Yet, only three of the parliamentarians have raised this issue in the parliament so far. Top leaders are mum since they have benefitted from such a distribution scam.
We have exposed a number of major corruption scandals, with solid evidence, in the last few months, and only some of the cases are being investigated by the concerned agencies. As a result, the perpetrators are walking scot-free, while public anger against the state actors is reaching new level every other day. Politicians are viewed as corrupt and insensitive to public welfare and government officials as ones who are abetting corruption. People have begun to develop distaste against the very system which the country has adopted to create corruption-free society with an accountable political system. This is why it is high time for the state agencies that are supposed to look into such corruption cases to wake up and work hard to bring all those involved to justice before they begin destroying the evidence.
As we begin to institutionalize the federal republic, it is important for the government and its agencies to show the willingness to go after those involved in wrongdoing. This will send a powerful message to leaders in charge of recently elected local bodies. We have begun to see newly-elected mayors and chairpersons indulging in increasing their privileges before solving people’s immediate concerns. This must stop immediately. What Kathmandu does will no doubt be seen, heard and replicated across Nepal. The government of Sher Bahadur Deuba and other state agencies should work towards bringing those involved in corruption cases to justice at the earliest so that the people feel the government is at least trying to do something to curb corruption. People feel hopeless when the government turns deaf ear to multi-billion scams. We are constantly waiting and watching to see what happens next. Our job will be to constantly monitor and report on the cases. Political class has no liberty to sit back and just observe as the stories of loot are unfolding one after other. They need to understand that every penny they misuse is invested with sweat and blood of citizens who are toiling hard at home and foreign countries risking their lives.