Government officials, businessmen charged with corruptionSome of the country's renowned names in business are accused of causing losses to the state.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority on Wednesday filed corruption cases against 27 individuals, including government officials of the Department of Mines and Geology, and nine businessmen, at the Special Court.
They have been charged with causing the revenue losses of Rs1.24 billion to the state, the anti graft body said in a press statement.
The anti-graft body said that the government suffered huge losses as the cement and limestone companies owned by the businessmen extracted more than the permitted quantity of limestones while the officials of the department failed to recoup revenue for extracting limestones more than permitted.
The anti-graft body has filed cases against department’s director general Ram Prasad Ghimire and other officials while owners of the nine cement and limestone factories including Pashupati Murarka, former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Murarka is the owner of Siddhartha Mineral and has been charged with corruption for causing the highest revenue losses to the tune of Rs494.55 million to the government.
Sarad Goyal of Maruti Cement and Bishnu Prasad Neupane of Sarbottam Cement are other defendants in the case who have been accused of causing second and third highest losses worth Rs205.06 million and Rs163.18 million, respectively, to the government.
Other businesmen indicted in corruption are—Rishi Agrawal of Annapurna Quarries, Naresh Dugar of United Cement, Nipesh Tayal of Sonapur Minerals and Oil Limited, Man Bahadur Shrestha of Dolomite Chundhunga Udyog, Bhim Bahadur Thapa Chhetri of Kanchan Quarries and Prabal Jung Pandey of Udaipur Mineral Tech.
According to the anti-graft body, a three-member probe team headed by Ghimire had initially recommended that as much as Rs1.24 billion should be recouped from these companies for over-extraction of the limestones than permitted by the department.
When the probe team headed by Ghimire recommended recouping the amount on July 16, 2019, he was deputy director general at the department.
After being the director general at the department, Ghimire formed another committee headed by Jayaraj Ghimire, another official of the department with “the intention of giving revenue exemption” of almost all the amount determined by the previous committee led by himself, according to the commission.
Based on the recommendation of the Jayaraj Ghimire-led committee, only Rs1.8 million was recovered from these companies.
They were fined only Rs100,000 each for fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, according to the commission.
The anti-graft body has also accused cement and limestone companies of extracting more than permitted quantity of limestones by causing damage to the environment, besides causing revenue losses to the government.