KATHMANDU, Oct 30: 'Efficient civil administration, development, prosperity and good governance' is the slogan of the government. This slogan is prominently displayed on the walls of ministries and government buildings within Singha Durbar. In the government's annual budget, it is mentioned that corruption will be controlled and good governance will be provided for the people. In the Constitution of Nepal and Good Governance (Management and Operation) Act 2064 BS, there is a clear mention of controlling corruption and ensuring good governance.
However, the 33rd annual report for the fiscal year 2022/23, published by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in mid-October, highlights that corruption complaints have been lodged against every government office. Experts believe this report exposes the widespread irregularities, lawlessness, and corruption prevalent in the country.
Areas where public resources are mobilized and development projects are implemented, as well as areas responsible for providing daily services to the people, are in the grip of corruption. Complaints of various irregularities in areas such as revenue collection, public procurement, education, health, foreign employment, immigration, transport management, cargo licensing etc have been received at the CIAA. Governance experts say that even though the corruption, irregularities and corruption happening in the public bodies along with such complaints to the CIAA have distorted the governance and the state system, there has been no effective intervention from the regulatory bodies.
According to the report, complaints have been made that there is relatively more corruption in the ministries of federal affairs and general administration, education, land administration, forest and environment, physical infrastructure, home affairs, and health and population.
According to CIAA officials, the corruption rates by ministry include Federal Affairs (local level) at 35.95, Education (local level) at 14.55, Land Administration at 6.9, Forest and Environment at 4.14, Physical Infrastructure and Transport at 4.10, Home Affairs at 3.58, Health and Population at 3.12, Tourism at 4.10, Industry and Commerce at 2.2, Energy, Water Resources, and Urban Development at 2.51, Financial Sector at 1.89, Agriculture Livestock at 1.25, Communication and Information Technology at 1.3, and 6.2 percent of the complaints were related to illegal wealth acquisition, with 7.12 percent.
The CIAA received a total of 13,098 complaints related to corruption and irregularities in the fiscal year 2022/23, of which 9,508 were specifically regarding corruption and irregularities.
In that year, the CIAA filed 162 cases related to various forms of corruption at the Special Court. Officials from the CIAA believe that such corruption adversely affects economic development, infrastructure construction, public service delivery, internal security, and the preservation of natural resources.
Experts say that such complaints in the government offices have caused dissatisfaction and frustration with the political leadership and personnel administration in the state.
The CIAA initiates an investigation only after receiving complaints regarding corruption and irregularities. But the complaints of irregularities and corruption happening in most of the offices were not reported to the commission and because it could not play an effective role in corruption control, the people could not expect good governance because of the increase in corruption and corruption, said Surya Nath Upadhyay, a former chief commissioner of the CIAA. He said that the government should also take monitoring and control measures to control such malpractice and corruption, but that has not happened.
"The current situation has been created because the mechanisms set up to control corruption have not been able to work transparently and effectively," he said. He has not been able to take strong action against the corruption going on in the government base. According to the Transparency International's 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, Nepal has a corruption index score of 34. Nepal is ranked 110th in the country of corruption in the world.
In the meeting of the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the Parliament in mid-October, the Chief Commissioner of the CIAA, Prem Rai, said that corruption is rampant in all public bodies. He said that the public trust of the employees is being lost in the society due to corruption, inactivity, etc. He also urged everyone to work responsibly and responsibly as corruption has reached a point where it is impossible to control it. Experts say that honesty, transparency and public accountability are not maintained in the political leadership and staff administration, and ethics and good governance cannot be achieved.
"The situation is getting worse when the authorities do not take action against the perpetrators of corruption and irregularities and the state institutions do not follow the law. But the government is just raising the slogan of good governance," said Bharat Bahadur Thapa, former secretary of the CIAA.
The government's support and cooperation in corruption control is being reversed. As the political leadership weakens the independent and constitutional bodies, corruption has flourished and the situation has come to the rule of lawlessness," said former secretary Thapa. All agencies are failing in law enforcement, which has affected the general public," he added.
Umesh Mainali, the former chairman of the Public Service Commission, said that in a democracy, the constitutional bodies are weakening because they are not able to work transparently and independently, and this is contributing to increased corruption. “The role of the state in establishing a society based on virtuous and moral values has not been evident. Constitutional bodies have struggled to control corruption, leading to doubts that corruption can be controlled, and morality and good governance can be established in the country,” said Mainali.