CIAA, PMO concerned about projects for MPs
- Caution about misuse of Rs 10 billion for constituency development
Sep 16, 2017-The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have separately expressed concerns over the allocation of the Rs 10-billion package under the Constituency Infrastructure Special Programme (CISP) and Constituency Development Programme (CDP).
The Cabinet on September 6 amended the CISP (Operation Working Procedure) Regulation and CDP (Operation Working Procedure) Regulation, setting a deadline of October 17 for the lawmakers to submit the projects to be implemented under these two programmes to the District Technical Offices.
There were earlier concerns that such projects for the incumbent lawmakers could give them “unfair” advantage over their rival candidates during the upcoming elections scheduled in November and December, as they could showcase the projects to influence voters. The incumbent lawmakers’ term will expire on October 21, a day before the nomination filing for the elections to be held in November and December.The Ministry of Local Development (MoFALD) has started allocating various programmes under the CISP and CDP.
In a letter to MoFALD issued on Thursday, the anti-graft body has expressed its concern over the “huge budget allocation” at a time when elections have been announced and cautioned about the possibility of misuse of funds.
A senior ministry official said the CIAA’s main concern is the possibility of misuse of funds, something which has been frequently seen in the past.
Besides, the move also violates the election code of conduct which has been in force since August 30.
On Wednesday, an election commissioner told the Post that the Election Commission “cannot stop the projects to be implemented under the CISP and the CDP as they are part of the budget passed by Parliament.” He admitted that the incumbent lawmakers could have an “unfair” advantage over their rival candidates through these projects.
Similarly, the PMO has also instructed MoFALD to put the process of allocating projects under the CISP and CDP on hold. The PMO has also asked the Ministry of Finance (MoF) not to issue authorisation for now.
The PMO instructions to MoFALD and MoF follow the CIAA’s concern over the disbursement of the huge amount of money in the run-up to the elections.
Officials said the incumbent parliamentarians can neither furnish projects nor submit bills before the elections, which are just three months away.
The officials have yet to take a concrete decision on the matter though, as Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Bijay Kumar Gacchadar is currently in Province 2 for the local elections scheduled for Monday.
Senior officials at the PMO also have advised Chief Secretary Rajendra Kishore Chettri to consult Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba before taking any decision.
Shree Hari Aryal, president, Transparency International Nepal, said, “There is just one month remaining for the lawmakers to serve. So, they don’t have time and capacity to use such a huge amount of budget under the said programmes.”
Published: 16-09-2017 06:27