PAC summons meeting to discuss Sajha irregularities

Published On: August 4, 2017 04:06 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Aug 3: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament has started investigating the alleged irregularities in Sajha Prakashan.
Following a series of news reports on the irregularities taking place in Sajha Prakashan in Republica and Nagarik dailies, the parliamentary panel has summoned the Sajha Prakashan officials concerned for discussions on Friday, according to PAC officials.
“We have called education secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha and Dolindra Prasad Sharma, chairperson and general manager (GM)of Sajha Prakashan tomorrow,” said Ram Hari Khatiwada, a member of PAC. “I wonder what the ministries are doing by not taking action against the corrupt people!” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE), which earlier had formed a three-member panel on July 27 to probe into Sajha irregularities, removed member Bhola Nath Paudel, an accounts officer at the ministry, from the panel on Thursday after  news reports on his wife's new job at Sajha Prakasahn were published on Republica and Nagarik on Thursday. The news reports revealed that Paudel's wife Nabina Koirala Paudel was appointed at Sajha on July 30 by GM Sharma.

The ministry has replaced Paudel with Sunita Khanal, accounts officer at the Department of Education, as panel member, according to Shanta Bahadur Shrestha, secretary at the MoE. Now the three-member panel includes Ganesh Dhakal, undersecretary at the Monitoring and Evaluation Section, Resham Sigdel, undersecretary at the Law Section of the MoE and Khanal. 

GM Sharma of Sajha Prakashan has been accused of appointing those close to political leaders and media persons, maintaining no record of annual incomes, creating fake documents, printing books illegally, transferring  Rs 5 million from Sajha to the GM's bank account, serving both as the chairman and the GM against the rules, and not carrying out audit for during his tenure of 30 months.

Republica has found additional evidences of GM Sharma's ill-intentions and 'misuse of power' in different districts. GM Sharma has transferred permanent officers of different districts and directed them to hand over financial and official authority to the staffers hired on contracts. Sharma has transferred Sajha staffers of big cities to the smaller branches.
In separate letters dispatched on July 5 to Sajha Prakashan offices in different districts, Sharma has transferred permanent staffers, effective from July 16. He has directed the transferred staffers to hand over cash and other assets to temporary staffers. A letter sent to Subodh Kumar Jha of the Butwal branch orders Jha to join Dang branch office by handing over all responsibility to Ganesh Bohora, who was appointed on contract six months ago. Bohora's contract will end after a month.

Similarly, Sharma has transferred permanent staffer Jitendra Lawati of Pokhara to Nepalgunj. In the transfer letter, Sharma has directed Lawati to hand over everything to his assistant Narayan Baral, who was appointed by Sharma on a contract.
Sharma transferred Chandra Kumar Lawati of Nepalgunj to the Birtamod branch office, directing him to hand over all authority to Kiran Prasad Gajurel, who too is a contractual employee.

Similarly, Naresh Shrestha of Dharan, who got voluntary retirement, has been appointed again on contract. Sharma hired Tek Bahadur Chand to the post of assistant first level on contract basis six months ago and gave authority of office to a junior staff. In Nepalgunj, despite deputation of permanent staffer Munni Basnet, assistant second level, Sharma directed to hand over all responsibility to Kiran Prasad Gajurel in the letter.
Likewise, Manoj Majhi of the Rajbiraj branch, who got voluntary retirement last year, has been hired on contract at the same branch.  As Majhi's assistants, Hira Jha and Dinesh Mandal have been hired on contracts.

GM Sharma did not receive the phone calls from Republica, despite repeated attempts.

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