4-10 December 2015 #785

Watchdog vs CIAA

Editorial in Kantipur, 1 December

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) unveiled a chilling report this week, exposing irregularities in earthquake relief distribution. The report said relief was distributed to fake earthquake victims, sub-standard materials were purchased at suspiciously high prices and there were irregularities in procurement of medicines.

But the CIAA has not filed a case against any government authority involved in irregularities or in relief distribution. Nor has it dared to name them.

The CIAA is a constitutional watchdog against corruption, but by not carrying out a proper investigation, naming wrongdoers and filing cases against them, the CIAA seems to have forgotten its role and responsibility. The CIAA report lists anomalies but lacks factual details to back them.

By sharing its half-baked investigation report with the media, the CIAA has prompted us to raise questions about its motives. Is it alerting the guilty and giving them time to tamper with evidence? Is it not against its own guidelines about maintaining secrecy before concluding an investigation?

The CIAA needs to be clear: its duty is not monitoring and cautioning government authorities. There are other agencies with that mandate. It needs to stick to its constitutional responsibility: investigate corruption and ensure punishment against the guilty. If not, it will lose its credibility. ‘Yellow journalism’

CIAA reply on its official Facebook page, 1 December

Our attention has been drawn to an editorial in Kantipur on our report on earthquake relief distribution. It is misleading, ill-intentioned and aimed at belittling a constitutional body. Unlike what Kantipur’s editorial claims, the CIAA report is not shallow. We put in a lot of hard work to prepare this document, and it examines every aspect of the irregularities. It also scrutinises relief from abroad with recommendations to effectively manage future post-disaster relief distribution.

Why should Kantipur get a headache when the CIAA publishes a report benefitting the state and earthquake survivors? Kantipur has been consistently attacking the CIAA and its current chief, Lokman Singh Karki.

The CIAA respects responsible journalism, and is happy to work with the media. But yellow journalism is unacceptable to us. We will never forget what Kantipur has written against us, and this is the last time that we are writing a rejoinder to it.

Read also:

Watching the watchdog, Binita Dahal

In contempt of the republic, Anurag Acharya

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