KATHMANDU, August 23: Senior officials at Nepal Oil Corporation receive commissions in the tune of Rs 30 million annually from petroleum product transporters. Transporters are compelled to pay a portion of the amounts they receive from NOC for their services, NOC sources said.
The commissions are collected from different NOC depots across the country while making payments to the transporters and NOC staff pass up the amount to senior officials at the center. Depots pay about Rs 2 billion in costs every year for transporting petrol from the refineries of Indian Oil Corporation . NOC officials pocket about 1.5 percent of the total amount, or Rs 30 million, according to sources at NOC.
An official at Amalekhgunj Depot informed that the money thus collected is distributed amongst the high-level officials as per the directions of NOC Executive Director (ED) Gopal Khadka.
“We have to hand over the amount to ED Khadka every month after collecting it from the transporters, and the amount depends on the volume of petroleum transported to that particular depot,” added the source. “One to 1.5 percent of the transportation cost paid to the transporters is collected by NOC staff at each depot and most of this amount is passed on to the central office in Kathmandu. A small part of the amount is distributed amongst the depot staff,” added the source.
NOC has outsourced to private tankers the transporting of petroleum products on the stretches from Barauni in India to Biratnagar, Betalpur to Dhangadhi, Silgudhi to Jhapa, Raxaul to Amalekhgunj, Barauni to Amalekhgunj, Barauni to Kathmandu, Raxaul to Kathmandu, Betalpur to Bhairahawa, Banthara to Dhangadhi, and Raxaul to Tribhuvan International Airport.
One transporter also confided that they are paid less than the full transport bill. “We have to pay in cash to the accountants about 1.5 to 2 percent of the total amount we are paid in checks,” added the transporter. Those refusing to pay the percentage are likely to be overlooked for the next consignment.
An official at NOC’s central office in Kathmandu estimates that the monthly collection is about Rs 150,000 at Nepalgunj Depot and Rs 200,000 at Bhairahawa Depot.
“Likewise, Amalekhgunj, Biratnagar and Pokhara depots send Rs 500,000, Rs 200,000 and Rs 30,000 each month,” added the official. In addition to this, officials have to pay some amount for getting assigned to the posts of regional chief. NOC Spokesperson Birendra Goit, however, denied such collections from depots and from those appointed as regional chiefs. “Let us know if anyone is collecting such amounts from transporters,” added Goit.
OTHER MISAPPROPRIATIONS AT NOC
ED Khadka has been involved in a number of other abuses of authority and corruption at NOC. It seems the silence of the Ministry of Supplies and the parliamentary committees has further encouraged him. Khadka has appointed staff without going through the selection process, and issued new licenses as per his will for LPG refilling stations, new petrol pumps, gas bullets and tankers, among other things.
Khadka has appointed130 additional staff on top of the sanctioned quota of 753, and has curried favor with political party leaders and top bureaucrats. With his appointment, NOC is incurring an unnecessary burden of Rs 20 million per year. It has already been disclosed that Khadka has received millions in bribes while issuing licenses to New Bhadrakali Petrol Pump at Imadol Lalitpur, Akash Bhairab Petrol Pump at Naubise Dhading, Fatekshwor Petrol Pump at Dolalghat Kavre and half a dozen pumps in Dolakha.