The anti-corruption watch dog arrested 10 Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) officials including two assistant managers and a assistant director and two Chinese nationals for being involved in corruption while purchasing ‘low –standard’ transformers, though the NEA probe committee indicted senior officials have been still spared.
Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) arrested NEA’s assistant managers Surendra Prasad Paneru and Madanraj Chapagain, assistant director Harish Bahadur Pal, engineer Prajwal Pandey, chief store keeper Bharat Rupakheti and produced them at the Special Court which sent them to judicial custody, whereas the ‘low quality’ transformers suppliers – Chinese nationals Hu Zheng Qiang and Zou Yi Tian of Hubei Sunlight Electric Company were arrested on Friday – a press release of the CIAA read, adding that it has arrested following the complaints of the alleged irregularities on low transformers supply, which was based on NEA investigation.
The officials were arrested from different places. Sindu Yadav was arrested from Nepalgunj, Surendra Joshi from Biratnagar, Saroj Shrestha and Narayan Chaudhary from Hetauda and Suresh Kumar Katawal from Kathmandu.
The NEA investigation committee had, however, in its report indicted senior officials – including acting managing director Mahendra Lal Shrestha and general managers Upendra Dev Bhatta, Chiranjivi Poudel and Ganesh Rai — though the CIAA has not arrested them so far.
The supplier Hubei Sunlight Electric Company had supplied low quality transforers with aluminimum wire instead of copper wire inside the transformers. The issue came to light after media exposed low suspicious quality of transformers.
The preliminary investigations revealed that there has been over Rs 300 million embezzlement in the purchase of some 2,000 pieces of transformers from Hubei, according to the CIAA that took the case a year ago in September 2012, after it received complaints that China and Thailand supplied some 4,657 sub-standard transformers to the NEA.
“A Thai company Sahabhant Electric Comedia and four Chinese companies — Shenyang Dongneng Electricity Equipment , Hubei Sunlight Electric, SVR Electrical and Sichuan Dongfang Transformer — had supplied the low quality transformers in the last five years.The imported transformers were not even tested by the NEA officials as a proof of massive corruption.