It needs no mention corruption is one of the key factors hindering development of the nation. Fiscal irregularities are still rampant in Nepal. However, combating corruption is one of the overarching goals of the present government. When Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who assumed the high executive office two years ago, has come up with a motto of ‘zero tolerance on corruption’ to eradicate the deep-rooted misconduct. Despite this, corrupt practices have kept plaguing the nation. The government has moved ahead with a slogan of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”, which cannot be achieved without bringing corruption under control. President Bidya Devi Bhandari, while addressing the 29th anniversary of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in Kathmandu on Tuesday, said that the government’s goal of creating a corruption-free nation would not be achieved without containing corruption prevailing in different manifestations. The President also said that corruption would be controlled only when the civil servants start working in a responsible manner.
Enhancing cooperation and coordination among various sectors is essential to establish good governance and rule of law in the country. It may not take much time for the country to realise the much-needed economic transformation as envisaged by the government when the campaign against corruption becomes successful. President Bhandari said that service delivery and the road to prosperity would be disrupted if corruption continued to thrive in the society. Terming both bribe givers and receivers as the worst enemies of the nation, she called one and all to follow a lifestyle of honesty, integrity and high ethical standards for creating a corruption-free and civilised society. As the nation’s anti-corruption body, the CIAA has a proactive role to play to do away with corruption. In a similar vein, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asked the anti-corruption agency to carry out its investigations into corruption cases in an independent and impartial manner. He told politicians, civil servants and entrepreneurs to express their commitment that they would not get engaged in any form of corruption. He also pledged necessary support to the CIAA in its fight against the anomaly.
The CIAA received around 30,000 corruption-related complaints last year. It filed a total of 351 cases at the Special Court and carried out altogether 141 ‘sting operations’. The number of cases filed alone should not be the basis for assessing the CIAA’s performance. As per the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), 2018, Nepal scaled two points to 124 among 180 countries, from 122 in the previous year. This indicates that corruption is still pervasive in the country. The anti-corruption watchdog needs to come up with more effective strategies to deal with fiscal irregularities. The CIAA must have well-trained, honest and dedicated teams to make its crusade against corruption a success. It should devise its strong intelligence mechanism to identify corruption cases. The CIAA could win people’s confidence only when it cracks down on major irregularities. It should be capable of bringing big fishes into its net. It must play a crucial role in holding authorities concerned more responsible and accountable.