Friday, November 18, 2011

Excess wealth: 86 officials under the CIAA

Over seven dozen high-ranking government officials, politicians and police officials are under the scanner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for amassing properties disproportionate to their sources of income.

The CIAA officials said they have started investigation into the property details of these officials following serious complaints about their possible involvement in irregularities during their tenure in different government offices. These officials, many of them have already retired, worked in the ministries of Home, Commerce, Education, and Nepal Police, Armed Police Force (APF) and other government offices such as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

Though there were over three hundred complaints lodged at the office by the end of August, the anti-graft body picked 86 “most compelling” cases. “These are the cases we are trying to investigate at the first stage. The remaining and the new complaints would be handled gradually based on their priority,” said CIAA Spokesman Ishwori Paudyal.

The number of complaints, he said, is growing by the day. “Since we started our probe into property details about two months ago, the rate of registering complaints about graft has dramatically shot up,” he said.

The small CIAA team seems to be grappling with complaints. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to handle all the complaints, especially given the small number of staff at our disposal,” said an official. In a bid to bring efficiency to its work, the CIAA has assigned heads of 10 separate departments under it—each focusing on a particular area of investigation— with the task of looking into the complaints.

Currently, the officials are busy collecting property details of the suspected officials through a 13-page questionnaire.

Sources said among the officials under scanner are former secretaries and joint secretaries in the ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Commerce and Supplies, Education, and IRD officials. Some APF AIGs and former chief district officers of Kathmandu are also under the CIAA investigation. One former CDO of Kathmandu, for instance, has been charged with allowing some businessmen to construct buildings against the criteria set by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City for bribe.

Posted on: 2011-11-18 09:13

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