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Donors unite to fight funds misuse in Nepal

Publication Date : 09-11-2012


Donors who contributed more than US$161 million for the Local Governance and Community Development Programme ( LGCDP ) have come up with an anti-corruption measure.

A 10-point proposal forwarded by the donors to the ministry of federal affairs and local development comes after reports in the media that millions of rupees from development funds allocated to local bodies for development and social security were being misused by local politicians  in collusion with bureaucrats in the absence of elected peoples’ representatives.

The anti-corruption measure, prepared after consultation among potential donors, has sought clear policies and rules on corruption from the ministry.

The Asian Development Bank, DFID, DANIDA, CIDA, NORAD, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, SDC, UNV and UNCDF have shelled out $161.5 million for the four-year LGCDP programme. The term of programme, which started in 2008, is set to expire this year.

The ministry, for its part, is now preparing a second phase programme to check the increasing fiduciary anomalies at the local level. However, as the LGCDP's first term will expire soon, donors have proposed independent third party reporting and citizen feedback on local development.

“They [donors] have forwarded their proposal and we will jointly discuss it shortly,” said Gopi Khanal, programme manager of the LGCDP.

Last month, after inspecting Dhanusha, senior officials from the ministry had concluded that 300 million rupees (US$3.44 million) of the budget allocated for development and social security allowances had been misused. Eighteen senior officials were suspended for their alleged roles in misusing the fund and details were also forwarded to the Commission for the Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for further investigation.

The suspended officials have now forcefully rejoined their offices but no credible investigation has yet been carried out by the CIAA, according to ministry officials.

Additionally, media also reported that 380 million rupees of the budget distributed as advance payment for development projects in Saptari had yet to be furnished.

Following complaints that local funds were been largely misused, the ministry formed three separate teams under the leadership of Joint Secretaries to look into the matter. However, the ministry officially has not made public any further developments concerning the irregularities.

Given the delay in making public the status of  corruption and actions against corrupt officials, the donor proposal has urged the ministry to share the status of all corruption cases related to local bodies and detailed action taken in the last six months.

*US$1=87.3 Nepalese rupees


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