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Obstacles To Ending Corruption

Issue June 2019

Obstacles To Ending Corruption

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


None of the laws was to hold any State employees including the elected ones accountable for not delivering or wrongly delivering or delaying in the service delivery, and also did not hold the prime minister, ministers, secretaries to the ministries, and the members of the entire bureaucracy and the vendors or contractors that received the State contracts accountable for their actions. However, the current council of ministers was not in a mood to craft new bills and amend the existing ones to hold the entire bureaucracy including the elected ones accountable for what they did and what they did not. So, would it not be appropriate to say that not only the laws but also the entire council of minister had been barrier to prosperity of the entire populace? In addition, some of the heads of the constitutional bodies had been receiving double benefits of salaries and of the pensions breaking the rules that prohibited even though probably the same bureaucrats and legal experts had crafted the laws and rules and regulations but making no provision for penalty for breaking rules.


I just happened to drive from the Lalita Nivas, Baluwatar to Goma Ganesh in Kathmandu on June 25, 2019, and saw a layer of asphalt was laid on the road, which had no potholes and nothing had been broken. Anyway, I was happy to see the nice road so smooth to drive on. I did not know who paved this road recently: the municipality, department of roads, repair and maintenance board or the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority. No matter which agency had paved this road it was obviously done so to consume the budget on the final days of the FY 2018 (2075) otherwise many more areas were there waiting for repair and maintenance not to mention the repaving of some dilapidated roads. Then, I drove further down the south and before reaching the crossing to Goma Ganesh: I saw the newly repaved road was dug apparently for laying underground pipes. Here, probably another State agency was working to expend the budget allocated to this sort of work for the FY 2018 (2075).


Not only the folks like me had noticed the irregular development practices going on just under the nose of the official residence of prime minister but also Prime Minister Oli must have seen what had been going on in this area because the prime minister daily moved around this area for going to office and back to the official residence. Such irregular practices of the State agencies the prime minister had seen for sure but he had publicly said nothing except for saying he had not the tolerance of corruption in the past.


Nobody could probably count how many potholes were there elsewhere on the Kathmandu city roads but neither the municipality nor so many other responsible agencies for repair and maintenance of the roads had taken any interest in filling up the potholes at least. Commuters had been facing the mud and water in the potholes during the rainy season while dust and dirt during the dry season. The concerned State agencies did not even filled up the potholes even for expending the budget if any if they had on the last days of the fiscal year. Probably, they did not have budgets for such things that benefited the common folks or the budget might be so small the concerned agencies were not attracted to finishing off such budgets. Whatever might be the reasons but the potholes remained uncared for.


Seeing these development activities, I concluded on the spot that the entire state agency from the prime minister down to the laborers repaving the roads and digging the just repaved road was engaged in entirely using up the development budget at the end of the fiscal year because no agencies from the prime minister down to the local level had made any attempts on stopping such corrupt practices.


Then, Nepal has the prime minister that had repeatedly said that he was intolerable to corruption. In fact, recently, he had stopped saying the same story of zero tolerance of corruption because he ultimately probably came to know what corruption was and how it was committed; probably, he would not be able to stop such irregularities in the running the State businesses. So, it was useless to parroting the no-tolerance of corruption. It might be even beneficial to let go as it was rather than trying to stop it, as the entire council of ministers, and secretaries to ministries had been involved in such practices of irregularities in the development activities either permitted by law or committed bullying the laws. Obviously, the prime minister either could not take strong actions against the corrupt practices or did not want to do so because those guys were either his comrades or the colleagues.


Two things any prime minister could do but none of the prime ministers so far had done.


First thing to do was to amend the laws for stopping the practices of consuming the entire construction development budget on the final days of any fiscal year. Any laws could be crafted and make them into laws by the current prime minister with the two-thirds majority in the parliament. So, the question was why his concerned ministers could not craft bills stopping such irregular practices of using up the development budget at the end of any fiscal years. Actually the question was to the prime minister why he could not ask the ministers to craft bills that would ensure the budgets were purposefully used over the period of any fiscal years otherwise those responsible persons including the prime minister down to the project chiefs would be held accountable and punished for not doing so. The prime minister also knew not to mention his ministers and secretaries that none of the current laws held the State employees including the elected ones accountable for the service delivery done irregularly or delayed in service delivery, and were not subjected to penalty if they were to default on the service delivery rather they shamelessly blamed the victims of the faults of the wrong doing of the State agencies.


For example, a cyclist fell into a ditch the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority had dug, and died because it was early in the morning the unfortunate cyclist was on the road, and nobody around him was there to rescue. The most irrational chief of the authority said that the victim should not have gone that way, and so early in the morning. He did not realized that the diggers needed to fence the ditch safely so that nobody would accidentally fall into it, and would not need to lose the so precious human life. Instead of apologizing the families of the victim for losing their loved one, the chief blamed the victim. The prevailing laws had even the chief of the State agency made so bold not only not to be accountable to what had happened but also even blamed the victim of the wrong doing of the State agency. Some motorcyclists had lost their lives falling into the unattended and unsafely left ditches so many State agencies that involved in digging the roads for various purposes had dug but none of the State agencies were held accountable for their untimely death.


Obviously, the activities of the current council of ministers over the last one-and-a-half years had indicated that they were not interested in crafting the bills that would benefit the entire nation, and would held the State agencies accountable rather they had crafted provocative bills such as Guthi Bill, Media Council Bill, and Human Rights Bills among other controversial bills to have the control over the entire assets of the Guthi no matter whether they were State or the privately owned because the entire Guthi system possessed huge cash and property assets, which had been the target of some probably converted-to-a-foreign-religion lawmakers hired for destroying the entire indigenous cultural and religious heritages. That was how the foreign religion they wanted to implant on the Nepalis. Media Council Bill, and Human Rights Bills severely infringed the fundamental human rights the constitution has insured; and consequently, violated the basic law of the nation.


Every minister including the prime minister was not accountable to anything. Prime Minister Oli failed to fire the Minister for Land Management for crafting a Guthi Bill that had provoked the entire stakeholders of the Guthi System into unprecedented protests, and the prime minister had to order the concerned minister to withdraw it. The minister did appropriately take the bill out of the National Council. However, it had done a great damage to the reputation of the prime minister not to mention the concerned minister, and to his political party. How much damages had been done to the party would be apparent in the next general elections. Similarly, the prime minister needed to fire the ministers concerned for crafting the Media Council Bill, and Human Rights Bill that went against the constitution, and that had harmed the prime minister and his party. He had failed in firing the erring ministers meant he was not accountable to his duty.


So many heads of the constitutional bodies had been enjoying the double benefits of having the salaries and the pensions surely breaking the rules and regulations probably they themselves had crafted, the private media stated. They had been so smart not to include any provision for punishing such erring heads of the constitutional bodies. Is it not corruption if somebody received the benefits going beyond the legal provisions? However, folks occupying such honorable high positions surely did not care about probably such minor things they thought. However, these things had been the roots of the major corruption going on.


So, the main obstacles to ending the corruption and irregularities in the State service delivery had been the State laws that did not hold any ministers including prime minister accountable for the wrong doings and the secretaries to the ministries and other State employees for wrongly or delayed or not even not delivering services to the common folks. If the prime minister were not ordering to craft new bills or amend the prevailing laws to hold all the State employees including the elected ones accountable for what they did or did not do meant the prime minister himself became a hindrance to bring to an end to the endemic corruption in the bureaucracy.


June 27, 2019

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