Kathmandu, Nepal, January 14, 2020: The rampant corruption has painted a bleak picture of the country. Hinting to the many stances of policy corruptions, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has urged the authorities concerned to clearly define policy issues that are being misused by many ministries just to evade CIAA’s action.
Submitting its annual report to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, the CIAA has clearly stated on Monday that many ministries that were supposed to take ministry-level decisions on public procurement issues were getting endorsed by the cabinet just to avoid CIAA’s action as it did not have the authority to look into policy issues endorsed by the cabinet.
The government should clearly define policy decision and administrative decision of the cabinet because there is a tradition of taking controversial issues related to public procurement to the cabinet for a decision, which the commission believes that such a decision should not be categorized as a policy decision, the CIAA has stated in its report. The CIAA Act bars the commission from investigating decisions made by the cabinet.
The CIAA has also demanded working procedure regarding the threshold of policy and administrative decisions of the Cabinet. Likewise, the anti-graft body has also asked the government to bring new law so that the ministers cannot make haphazard decisions going against of their jurisdiction.
Similarly, the CIAA has also demanded the jurisdiction to investigate improper acts of public office holders as improper acts and corruption were closely linked. As improper acts and corruption cannot be treated as two separate issues, the CIAA should be authorized to probe improper acts because an issue of corruption may rise when a complaint about improper action is scrutinized and vice-versa, reads the CIAA statement. The Interim Constitution of 2007 had given the CIAA authority to probe improper acts but the new constitution nullified the provision.
Authority to probe the private organizations is also demanded by the CIAA stating that there were chances of collusion between public officers and corrupt office bearers of I/NGOs and cooperatives to embezzle funds.
A mutual legal assistance treaty with other countries has also been demanded by the CIAA to bring illegally earned money that Nepalese had parked in foreign countries. The anti-graft body has also demanded to bring the Department of Money Laundering Investigation under its preview. Now, the department is under the office of the Prime Minister and council of ministers.
According to the reports, the CIAA has filed 351 corruption cases at the Special Court in the last fiscal year 2018-19. Of them, 147 cases were related to graft, 88 to fake academic certificates, 39 to damage of public properties, 33 to illegal benefits, 10 to revenue misappropriation and 12 to amassing illegal property. Twenty-two cases were categorized under miscellaneous.