KATHMANDU, July 18: Parliament’s Finance Committee has started probing alleged embezzlement in the purchase of land by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) for building new storage facilities in four different places.
The committee on Tuesday discussed the issue of land purchase by NOC at up to four times the market price and formed a sub-committee led by lawmaker Abdul Razak to investigate the matter. Nardevi Pun, Saraswati Bajimaya, Ichharaj Tamang, Srijana Taramu Khatri and Ramesh Prasai Kurmi are members of sub-committee. The subcommittee is to investigate the procurement methods and the legal aspects.
Republica and its sister publication Nagarik had carried an exclusive story Monday on misappropriation of Rs 670 million in the purchase of 84 bigha land. NOC paid Rs 1.61 billion for the land located in Jhapa, Chitawan, Sarlahi and Bhairahawa as part of its plan to increase oil storage capacity.
Speaking at the committee, its chairman Prakash Jwala said, “There has been massive embezzlement in the land purchase.”
“The sub-committee will probe the matter and those involved in wrongdoing will be subjected to action,” added Jwala.
Also speaking at the meeting, lawmaker Razak said that NOC has purchased land on river banks and paid huge amounts against fake bills.
Middlemen first bought the land from farmers and others after panicking them with rumors that it would be requisitioned for paltry amounts, it is stated. The middlemen then resold the land to NOC at up to four times the initial price.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday asked officials to collect all the procurement documents from NOC and take stock of the affair.