Lawmakers took Rs 50m in perks, says top auditor

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Lawmakers made allowances effective retrospectively by endorsing the law before its promulgation

Apr 15, 2018-Successive governments in the fiscal year 2016-17 spent around Rs 50 million on lawmakers of former parliaments. The lawmakers made these allowances effective retrospectively by endorsing the law even before its promulgation.

The lawmakers received Rs49.11 million in allowances such as housing, transport and meetings, the 2018 annual report released by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) says.

The Nepal Gazette on December 22, 2016 published the Act on Remuneration and Facilities for the Officials and Members of the Federal Parliament-2016.

 The lawmakers inserted a caveat in the law on meeting allowance (Clause 4), housing facility (Clause 6), and vehicle and fuel facility (Clause 7) saying these would come into effect retrospectively from July 16, 2016. The new law that replaced old law increases perks for lawmakers.

The report says, “Rs49.11 million was paid to the lawmakers for the period ahead of the law coming into effect.”

The report further points to the fact the lawmakers received these allowances as per the new law although they had already received these according to the old law.

The new law increased the allowance for each meeting to Rs1,000 from Rs200, housing allowance to Rs18,000 from Rs6,500 per month and transport to Rs1,000 from Rs150 per day.

The report says the Parliament Secretariat paid Rs5.6 million on the basis of Rs20,000 per month as fuel allowance to the parliamentary party leaders of the political parties going against the same law.

Although the law stipulates providing fuel allowance to parliament’s speaker, deputy speaker, leader of the opposition party, chief whips and whips of ruling and the main opposition party in the parliament, it has does not grant this facility to parliamentary party leaders of the parties, the report says.

Three former lawmakers enjoyed transport facility although the law does not grant this to ex-lawmakers. The report points out the anomalies in providing facilities to ex-chief justice and justices.

According to the constitutional auditing body, the government provided 13 vehicles to 13 former chief justices going against the law on remuneration and facilities to the justices of the Supreme Court. As per the law, vehicle facility continues only for seven days after their retirement.

The government has spent a huge amount to support the needy. It often faces the blame for disbursing such huge allowances to political leaders and those close to them.

 The Home Ministry spent Rs290.6 million as financial support to the needy in the fiscal year 2016-16, a rise of 77.16 percent compared to the previous fiscal year, the report says.

The Working Procedure on Relief to the Citizens, Compensation and Financial Support has made the provision of providing maximum Rs500,000 for medical treatment. However, three persons received Rs1.5 million each through the cabinet decision.

With senior leaders often criticised for travelling to foreign countries to receive medical treatment by spending millions of rupees from the state coffer, medical facilities set up for VVIPs at the government-owned Bir Hospital remains unused since 1990, the OAG report concludes.


Published: 15-04-2018 06:26

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