CIAA extends NTB chief’s suspension

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
CIAA extends NTB chief’s suspension

Jan 28, 2015-

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Wednesday extended the suspension of Nepal Tourism Board chief Subash Nirola, and plans to file a corruption case against him.

A preliminary CIAA investigation has found Nirola embezzled around Rs 500 million in the name of tourism promotion during his stay in office. CIAA sources said preparations were underway to file a case against Nirola by next week.

The anti-graft body also directed the Tourism Ministry to produce Nirola before the CIAA. “The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has been hereby directed to suspend and present Nirola before the CIAA as retaining him to the post could result in loss and destruction of evidences,” CIAA said in a statement.

The CIAA source said a charge sheet concerning the Nirola case “is almost ready”. “The case will be filed in the court after interrogating the NTB account chief soon,” the source said. Earlier in December, the Ministry had suspended Nirola until January-end for his alleged involvement in misappropriating millions of rupees, following a directive from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

NTB had amended its financial bylaws to allow contract awarding without competitive bidding although the Public Procurement Act (PPA) says tenders should be called before awarding contracts.

Under the amendments that gave 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.

The chief can also spend $400,000 at a time outside the country without following the PPA, and up to $400,000 at a time through honorary representatives and firms.

The bylaws also allow the CEO to purchase goods on a piecemeal basis and appoint the internal auditor of the board.

The amended financial bylaws were kept hidden for more than six months. They were brought to light by travel trade entrepreneurs, sparking a 52-day-long protest after the government did not take the issue seriously.


Published: 29-01-2015 09:27

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