Logo of Transparency International.
KATHMANDU: Issuing a press statement, the Nepal Chapter of Transparency International, the global civil society organization Nepal has called on Prime Minister KP Sharma to initiate stern action against all office-bearers, including political leaders, involved in the alleged corruption under the pretext of medical equipment procurement deal.
Issuing a press statement, Nepal Chapter of the anti-corruption global network also urged the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority to open a free and fair investigation into the corruption scam.
“The crime of corruption premeditated by high-level government officials in the face of the adverse condition caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put Nepal in crisis, is beyond imagination. This scam makes a laughingstock of the prime minister’s commitment against corruption,” the release says.
Explaining how the government has failed to keep its words in curbing corruption, the release says ahead, “ Despite the slew of media reports about the recent procurement scam, the government is trying to brush this issue off instead of initiating action against office-bearers and political leaders.”
TI Nepal has condemned attempts to shield the responsible authorities, and urged the government to uphold the rule of law.
The government had scrapped the contract with Omni Group, the medical equipment supplier, for failing to procure protective gears from China and delivering them to the Department of Health Service within the stipulated date.
Earlier, the government had bypassed the lowest bidder and awarded the contract to Omni Group.
Initially, Oli led government, as before, defended the procurement stating that the high price was due to shortage of such equipment in the global market. Corruption Perception Index-2019 unveiled by Transparency International had ranked Nepal 113 out of 180 countries with a score of 34 and suggested that the government prevent opportunities for political corruption and foster the integrity of political systems.
The government’s attitude has tarnished the PM’s image of a nation loving visionary as, lately, he has been blanketing the corruption scams like Wide Body procurement scam, then Minister for Communication Information and Technology Gokul Baskota’s audio scam about 700 million rupees commission and the scam related with procurement of health equipments at 15 times higher than the normal market price.