It is disheartening to note that fiscal irregularities have still been rampant in Nepal’s public sector. Thus, corruption is regarded as one of the major factors behind the country’s underdevelopment. The Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), 2018, showed that Nepal scaled two points to 124 among 180 countries, from 122 in the previous year. The anti-corruption watchdog’s annual report stated that corruption in the public sector, business and by government officials continued to plague the nation following the 2017 elections. However, an anti-corruption campaign has also been going on in the country. Realising the fact that corruption has adversely affected the country’s development process, the incumbent government has pledged to do away with this anomaly.
With its motto of ‘zero tolerance on corruption’, the government has come up with its firm commitment to eradicating corrupt practices. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) seems to have been carrying out its responsibilities in a more effective manner. Teams deployed by the anti-corruption body are found arresting civil servants red-handed while taking bribe money from beneficiaries. It made as many as 142 arrests last fiscal year while it was able to make 70 similar arrests in the first four months of the current fiscal year. The CIAA filed a total of 351 cases last year whereas it has registered 138 cases in the first four months of this fiscal year.
The CIAA, as per a news report published in this daily the other day, is planning to bring all the development projects failing to show satisfactory performances under its scanner. There is no doubt that the projects fail to get completed within the stipulated timeframe owing to the irregularity of one form or other. The CIAA has already sought clarifications from such projects over their delay in completion. It has categorised the projects that failed to accomplish 10 per cent progress even after receiving three or four time extensions for completion as extremely sick projects. The anti-corruption agency is gearing up for carrying out necessary investigations into such projects. As listed by the CIAA, there are about 1,850 sick projects. Initially, more than 100 extremely sick projects are going to be under the CIAA’s vigilance.
It is worth mentioning that the CIAA has made a remarkable progress in its last fiscal year’s report. The anti-corruption body received verdicts in its favour in a whopping 88 per cent of cases filed at the Special Court. The CIAA must develop its own intelligence mechanism to identify the corruption cases. It should intensify its crusade against corruption. Despite its action against corruption, it has often been criticised for failing to catch big fishes. Arresting the junior staffers alone will not be sufficient to deal with corruption. Those, who offer bribes to the civil servants, should also be brought to book for ending the corruption culture. Instead of being process-oriented, the CIAA should be result-oriented. It should focus on the offices such as land revenue, customs and transportation management. Its campaign against corruption will be successful only when it has well-trained, honest and dedicated teams.