CIAA gives NTB 3-day ultimatum to clean up mess

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
CIAA gives NTB 3-day ultimatum to clean up mess

Jun 18, 2014-

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Wednesday warned it would take action against officials of the Tourism Ministry, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and other concerned authorities if the ongoing crisis at the board was not resolved within three days.

Day-to-day activities at the country’s tourism promotional body have been stymied for the last 52 days since travel traders launched a protest against the NTB top brass accusing them of involvement in massive financial irregularities.   

The anti-graft body said in a statement issued Wednesday that the country’s tourism promotional body had remained immobile for a long time, and that its line ministry had not shown any seriousness in sorting out the issue concerning such a sensitive organization.

The CIAA said that the head of the NTB had not been to his office for more than a month. The employees too had been apparently signing the attendance register and getting their salaries and perks without doing any work. The NTB’s line ministry has not been serious about making any effort to resolve the crisis, it said.

“Hence, if the ongoing issue is not settled within three days, the CIAA will take action against ministry and NTB officials including other concerned persons,” the CIAA said. It added that its serious attention had been drawn to media reports and complaints filed against the financial irregularities at the NTB.  

Travel traders have accused the NTB bosses of committing irregularities by amending its Financial Bylaws in contravention of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), which lays down the rules for procurement by public entities.

The amended bylaws that have upset the tourism industry have given the NTB’s chief executive exclusive rights to spend freely in excess of the limit set by the PPA. The bylaws also allow the board to award contracts without competitive bidding even though the act says that tenders should be called before doing so. Under the amendments to the Financial Bylaws that give sweeping powers to the NTB boss to dispense cash, the CEO can spend up to Rs 10 million at a time for tourism promotion activities inside the country.

Similarly, the chief can spend $ 400,000 at a time outside the country without following any due process of the PPA. The CEO has also been given the power to spend up to $ 400,000 at a time through its honorary representatives and firms.

As per the new rules, the NTB can procure goods and services worth up to Rs 2.5 million through a quotation. The board can also purchase goods and services including promotional materials through a single supplier directly through a written proposal.

Published: 19-06-2014 08:59

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