Financial Irregularities Rampant at the Local Level

CIAA Receives 17,000 Complaints Against People's Representatives

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Financial Irregularities Rampant at the Local Level


KATHMANDU: The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has registered a case in the special court against six individuals, including the suspended mayor of Bagmati Municipality in Sarlahi, Bharat Kumar Thapa. Thapa was automatically suspended from his position following the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act after the CIAA filed a case on April 10, accusing him of illegally amassing wealth.

On Tuesday, the anti-graft body registered another case, alleging that Thapa and five others committed irregularities worth Rs 302.9 million in the construction of Bharat Tal in the municipality. The CIAA also filed charges against the municipality's deputy mayor, Leela Kumari Moktan, demanding a bond of Rs 302.9 million from her.

The initial case against Thapa claims he illegally earned Rs 53.3 million. The charge sheet details that Thapa had a legal income of Rs 78.6 million from mid-September 2017 to mid-February 2023 but invested and spent Rs 132 million during this period, leading to a discrepancy of Rs 53.3 million. The CIAA has demanded fines, punishment, and property confiscation for Thapa, asserting that he earned illegal property in the names of his wife Reshmi Kumari Ghimire, brother Ram Thapa, and daughter-in-law Dwarika Raut. They have also been made defendants in the case, with a demand for property confiscation.

Recently, the CIAA filed another corruption case against 14 individuals, including Mayor Gajendra Maharjan of Lalitpur's Godavari Municipality, accusing them of causing a loss of Rs 1.487 billion to the government by under-invoicing tenders for sand and gravel excavation. CIAA claims these actions led to significant revenue loss from FY 2075/76 to 2079/80.

According to Yagyaraj Regmi, the information officer of the special court, the CIAA filed the case on the grounds of revenue embezzlement by issuing tenders below the government rate. Mayor Maharjan, elected from the Nepali Congress, was also elected in the local elections of 2074.


The CIAA is currently investigating numerous complaints against public representatives, with 10-12 cases filed monthly in the special court after investigations. Joint Secretary and Spokesperson of the CIAA, Narahari Ghimire, noted that complaints of corruption and irregularities are being prioritized. He indicated that the nature of the current cases suggests a misuse of power by people's representatives, and he anticipates an increase in complaints.

CIAA's report highlights financial irregularities in programs such as procurement, agricultural initiatives, small contracts, river product excavation, report preparation, and road construction. There is a significant number of complaints alleging that representatives have illegally profited by misusing their power, violating laws, and causing state revenue losses.

This year, approximately 17,000 complaints have been filed against local representatives, making up about half of the total 33,000 complaints. This surge in complaints indicates that corruption has deeply rooted itself at the local level. The highest number of complaints have been made against representatives in Madhesh Province.

Bhim Prasad Dhungana, chairman of the Municipal Association of Nepal, argued that corruption is less prevalent at the local level compared to the federal government. He emphasized that there are many local levels, which naturally leads to a higher number of complaints. He argued that there are 753 local governments in the country, compared to one federal and seven provincial governments. Dhungana suggested that allegations of widespread local corruption are attempts to weaken local governance. He also noted that many cases escalate due to anonymous complaints against public representatives.

However, Ghimire mentioned that anonymous complaints are permitted to protect the complainant's privacy, and the authority investigates based on these complaints.

In addition to the CIAA's findings, the Auditor General's report also highlights financial indiscipline at the local level, noting worsening arrears and failure to follow procurement processes, leading to random fund disbursements.

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