KATHMANDU, Jan 8: In a bid to prevent lawmakers from pocketing the salaries of their personal secretaries, aides, and drivers, the parliament secretariat has decided to deposit the salaries of the latter in their personal bank accounts.
The office has asked all 334 members of parliament (MPs) from both the lower and upper houses including office bearers to submit the details of the bank accounts of their personal secretariat team members to the parliament secretariat at the earliest.
“The parliament secretariat has decided not to deposit the salaries of the secretariat team members in the bank accounts of the MPs concerned from this month onward. We have instructed the MPs and office bearers to submit the appointment letters, citizenship certificates and identity cards as well as bank account numbers of their personal secretaries, aides and drivers so that we can deposit the salaries directly in their bank accounts,” parliament secretariat spokesperson Rojnath Pandey told Republica.
The parliament secretariat took such measure after media reports that the lawmakers were pocketing the salaries of their personal aides and drivers, triggering a public outcry.
Earlier, most of the office bearers including parliamentary party leaders, chief whips and whips, chairpersons of various parliamentary committees and MPs used to pocket the salaries of their secretariat team members as the salaries would be deposited in the bank accounts of the lawmakers concerned.
Speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman of the National Assembly each have been receiving the salaries of eight others in addition to their own salary and perks in their bank accounts. Likewise, heads of parliamentary committees and party chief whips and whips get salaries of five other persons in addition to their own in their bank accounts.
Other office bearers including parliamentary party leaders and the deputy speaker get salaries meant for hiring personal secretaries, computer operators, drivers and office assistants in their bank accounts while the MPs, in addition to their own salary and perks, get a salary equal to that of a government officer to hire a personal secretary.
The law on perks and benefits of MPs and office bearers of the federal parliament clearly states that salary of personal secretaries and aides should be deposited in their own bank accounts.
“The process to correct the error has been initiated after media reports and public voices drew our attention,” said spokesperson Pandey.
Many office bearers were found misusing the salaries meant for hiring staffers by recruiting fewer staffers or showing non-existent staffers.
Most of the office bearers including chairpersons of various parliamentary committees were found hiring a single driver even though they were collecting the salary for two drivers.
“We sent messages to all the MPs on Friday. Since then, at least 89 MPs have collected forms to give us the details of their aides and other members of their team while around 25 have already submitted the bank account numbers,” said an official at the parliament secretariat.
The parliament secretariat is planning to issue a statement on Tuesday to publicize its decision to deposit the salaries of the lawmakers’ aides and drivers in the respective individuals’ bank accounts.