Big Fish in CIAA Net: Former Secretaries, Officials Sued over Huge Embezzlements in Melamchi Project

KATHMANDU, FEBRUARY 18: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has registered corruption cases at the Special Court against 15 people, including former secretaries for their alleged involvement in irregularities in the Melamchi Water Supply Project, a national pride project.

The CIAA said the graft cases were filed yesterday against consultants and construction company, CMC di Ravena of Italy, after finding that it was paid prior to carrying out construction works relating to the project.

The anti-graft body registered the case against former secretary Sanjay Sharma and Joint-Secretary Mukunda Prasad Poudel, demanding fine of Rs 60 million from both accused and demanding equal amount in recovery.

Similarly, the CIAA has sought over Rs 40 million in penalty from erstwhile secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply, Bhim Prasad Upadhyay and over Rs 600 million from Gajendra Kumar Thakur, erstwhile secretary at the same ministry.

Over 110 million has been claimed in fine from Rudra Singh Tamang, erstwhile board member of the Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee.
The CIAA has demanded over Rs 710 million from Chandra Bahadur Thapa, the then board member of the committee, while it has demanded over Rs 220 million from Ghanashyam Bhattarai, erstwhile executive director of the committee in penalty.

Likewise, the CIAA said a charge-sheet was filed at the Special Court against then Executive Director of Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee Ram Chandra Devkota, warranting Rs 323.5 million in fine.
Furthermore, another then Executive Director of Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee, Surya Raj Kandel, is also an accused in the case and the charge-sheet warrants Rs 890.8 million in fine.

The other accused are the then Under Secretary Mani Bhadra Neupane, Accounts Officer Ram Chandra Neupane, the then Under Secretary Beg Nath Poudel, the then Under Secretary Kedar Prasad Aryal and the committee’s Deputy Executive Director Bhoj Bikram Thapa.

The CIAA has further wanted Rs 323.5 million in fine from Mani Bhadra Neupane, Ram Chandra Neupane, Poudel and Thapa while Rs 447.3 million in fine from Aryal.
Issuing a press statement on Sunday, CIAA Spokesperson Narahari Ghimire said that Deputy Team Leader Shiva Kumar Sharma of consulting firm Eptisa-BETS JV has also been sued, seeking Rs 483.6 million in fine.

The case filed at the Special Court on Sunday sought Rs 875.8 million in fine from a consulting company named Eptisa Services De Ingenieris S.L and BETS Consulting Services Ltd JV.    Similarly, construction entrepreneur CMC di Ravena faced the charge-sheet, seeking Rs 651.4 million in fine. — RSS