Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CIAA nets NEA big fish in the multi-billion rupee transformer scam

The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) –  anti-graft body –today arrested 10 serving and retired Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) officials including managing director Rameshwor Yadav.
"The CIAA has taken them under its control after the initial findings corroborated their involvement in the multi-billion rupee scam while purchasing sub-standard transformers," CIAA spokesperson Shreedhar Sapkota said. “The officials were arrested and taken into custody as the anti-graft body feared they could hide evidences or flee the country.”
NEA chief Yadav was picked up from the Ratnapark-based NEA head office while the rest of them – including planning chief Krishna Bahadur Thapa, engineer Pramod Rijal, former managing directors Chiranjivi Sharma Poudel and Jibendra Jha, former deputy managing director Tikaram BC, deputy director Krishna Bahadur KC, senior official Dev Sharma Poudel and Distribution and Customer Department Chief Mahesh Prasad Acharya – were arrested from their homes.
Earlier on August 4, the anti-graft body had arrested 10 other senior NEA officials and two Chinese nationals — Hu Zheng of the supplier Hubei Sun Light Electric and his Nepal representative Zou Yi Tian — for their involvement in the scam that has hit the NEA financially.
CIAA officials said the state-owned power utility had purchased sub-standard transformers five times from China –  Shenyang Dongneng Electricity Equipment, Hubei Sunlight Electric, SVR Electrical and
Sichuan Dongfang Transformer – and Thailand – Sahabhant Electronic – worth Rs 5 billion over the period of last five years.
Preliminary investigations carried out by the CIAA had revealed that over Rs 300 million was embezzled while purchasing 2,000 sets of transformers from Hubei alone.
The CIAA had taken up the case in last September following complaints that thousands of sub-standard transformers were imported from China and Thailand misusing billions.
According to the internal investigation committee of the NEA led by board member Mohan Pant, the imported transformers used aluminum instead of copper. “Around 30 NEA officials, including the acting managing director Mahendra Lal Shrestha and general managers Upendra Dev Bhatta, Chiranjivi Poudel and Ganesh Rai, were involved in the deals.”

CIAA arrests DoFE, airport immigration staff
KATHMANDU: Likewise, CIAA arrested four officials from Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) over charges of bribery. The officials accused of taking bribe from people who are willing to go abroad and manpower agencies include director Ramesh Mainali.
Mainali, and section officer Deepak Prasad Khatiwada, non-gazetted officer Chandrahari Luitel, computer operators Pappu Kumar Sah and Ram Prasad Pokharel and Arabic language translator Obdul Maksud have been accused of sending 77 Nepalis to foreign countries with the fake documents.
CIAA has also seized fake documents.
Similarly, the CIAA has also arrested five top officials of Immigration Department while taking bribe from service seekers at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The CIAA took action after video footage revealed section officers Surya Prasad Dahal and Devarsi Sapkota, non-gazetted officers Pradip Prasad Lamichhane and Bishwa Raj Kharel and office assistant Jaya Narayan Napit taking cash from the service seekers.

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