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Saarc 2014

Rs 1b spent on fake schools: CIAA


KATHMANDU, APR 04 -

A probe by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has shown around Rs 1 billion from the state coffers is being misused annually on paper projects concerning schools in eight districts in central Tarai.

The districts are Siraha, Saptari, Dhanusha, Mahot-tari, Bara, Parsa, Sarlahi and Rautahat. The CIAA found that there are 608 schools that exist only on paper but receive sizeable funds sought to meet imaginary costs such as staff salary, textbooks and lunch packages to be distributed to imaginary students.

The probe points to fake students and teachers who were brought in from neighbouring Indian states during inspections by authorities and the allocated funds were embezzled piecemeal. Investigators found fake bills that were produced in collusion with stakeholders including teachers, local politicians and education officials.

“When you look at documents, everything seems to be in order but if you search for physical entities, they simply don’t exist,” said CIAA spokesman Shreedhar Sapkota. 

A CIAA source said hundreds of local politicians, including lawmaker Sanjaya Sah, have been charged with promoting the misuse of state coffers by producing fake documents. “We are preparing to recover the money and drag those involved in the scam to the court,” said Sapkota.

As part of its action, the anti-graft body is investigating 200 schools in the first lot and the remaining cases will be studied later. The CIAA has mobilised 30 officers to speed up the process.

Following complaints, the corruption watchdog had mobilised teams in Dhankuta, Makawanpur, Surkhet and Kaski, among other districts, to study the situation. Embezzlement, however, was not established in these districts so the resource has been mobilised in Tarai districts.

Posted on: 2014-04-04 08:32