The Government of Nepal has announced “zero tolerance to corruption” policy to combat corruption in any form to eliminate it from the root so that the country could usher in economic development and prosperity.
However, the government, even after completing one year, has yet failed check corruption- with institutionalized commission culture, nepotism, cronyism, misappropriation still rampant in government offices including ministries.
Nepal’s judicial system, police department, public utility services, tax administration, custom administration and public procurement sectors are all prone to corruption—due to which Nepal ranks 124th position out of 180 countries in 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International in January, dropping two positions below from 2017—making it third most corrupt country in South Asia.
Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage, says Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chairperson of Transparency International.
A survey on ‘Status of Corruption and Good Governance in Nepal’ carried out recently by the anti-graft body of Nepal, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), states that Land Revenue Office is the most corrupt public office in the country while Nepal Police is listed as the least corrupt among public offices.
Survey Office ranks as second most corrupt office. Local governments, Inland Revenue Office, Water Supply Office, District Agricultural Development Office, District Education Office, Transport Management Office, Telecom Office, Road Division Office, Cottage and Small Industries Office and District Police Office are also subject to dens of corruptions, according to CIAA.
LAND REVENUE OFFICE
It is no surprise that Land Revenue offices are the offices where corruption thrives the most. It is therefore, many corrupt civil servants eye a transfer in revenue offices with the intention to make fast money.
The corrupt officers at revenue offices are notorious for hesitating to complete the works of service seekers who reach the revenue office in time, forcing people to pay additional money to avoid unnecessary delay in works relating to registering land, transferring land ownership, getting land ownership certificate, and holding and release of land, among others. These bribe money is often collected through various middlemen such as lekhandas.
According to the CIAA survey report, 55 percent of the respondents had named land revenue office as the most corrupt.
The CIAA report shows that only land revenue offices are more corrupt than local governments given the rising number of graft complaints registered at the CIAA.
According to CIAA, of the total 19, 488 complaints registered in the fiscal year 2017/18, 3,511 complaints were against the local bodies—which is 18.02 percent, the highest in the last five years. In the fiscal year 2013/14, 3,300 complaints out of 22,602 registered wee against the local units.
According to reports, the officials at the local governments demand bribe money for issuing birth, death and marriage certificate.
The CIAA report states that 41.6 percent respondants complained that service seekers were compelled to pay bribe money for services at municipalities and rural municipalities.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT
Department of Transport management is one of the most corrupted entities of the country where corruption has become a way of life.
One has to bribe the officials for vehicle registration, issuance and renewal of driving license, distribution and renewal of blue book and ownership transfer vehicle.
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN EMPLOYMENT
Corruption remains widespread in the Department of Foreign Employment. Hundreds of officials at frontline desk, labor desk at Tribhuvan International Airport and manpower agents have been arrested in corruption charges including DoFE Directors General Bishwo Raj Pandey, Ramesh Prasad Mainali and Chiranjibi Adhikari.
Instead of serving to felicitate the migrant workers, the officials at the foreign department demand money from the manpower agencies for issuing labor approval on the basis of salary a laborer ears in foreign country.
A report prepared by National Vigilance Center in 2012 stated that the frontline officials at Department of Foreign Employment amassed around NRS 2 million in bribe every day, as reported by Republica. NVC in the report had recommended strong action against the employees at DoFE to check irregularities and corruption.
Similarly, officers at Inland Revenue Office demand additional money for tax valuation.