TI- Nepal carried out several advocacy efforts to address issues of corruption. A number of meetings were held, valuable recommendations received and shared with concerned authorities ranging from The Government of Nepal to private institutions. TI-Nepal carried out advocacy and interventions in various areas and sectors such as politics, governance, judiciary, private sector, earthquake and relief aid and constitutional assembly. The central theme of the advocacy and/or intervention programs were all focused on one central goal; minimization of corruption in the lives of the Nepali people.
LETTERS AND PRESS RELEASES
TI-Nepal sent letters to the government on several critical issues, each urging the government to be accountable and transparent in their actions. TI-Nepal also issued press releases to maintain the working partnership it has with the media. Following letters were sent to concerned authorities drawing their attention to issues that deemed inconsistent with public interest:
Letter to the Auditor General
On December 07, 2014, TI-Nepal requested support from the auditor general’s office for the release of district based audit data. Affiliated organizations of TI-Nepal, working to raise the issue of transparency at the district level were encouraged to use the data for public engagement.
Letter to the Prime Minister
TI-Nepal wrote to the Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on December 07, 2014 lauding that anti-corruption issues that were brought up in the SAARC summit held at Kathmandu. The letter appreciated SAARC for noting the importance of anti-corruption in its declaration.
Letter to the Judicial Council
The Judicial Council was approached on December 28, 2014, in a letter to bring to attention a case that had not been getting due attention. The appellate division of Mahakali zone in Mahendranagar had come under some criticism regarding a rape case and therefore, TI-Nepal urged the Judicial Council to take action in order to maintain the prestige and positive image of the judiciary.
Letter to the Prime Minister
TI-Nepal sent out a request letter on March 27, 2015 to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala asking him to address the demands of Dr. Govind K.C. The letter stated that health-education sector is associated with the concerns of the general public and that the demands of Govind K.C., towards mitigating corrupt practices, were valid reasons for attention.
Letter to the Finance Minster
TI-Nepal notified the Finance Ministry on May 06, 2015 that various individuals were using the excuse of extreme human suffering caused by the earthquake in Nepal to raise funds and money for their personal gain. The letter inquired if the ministry was aware of these illegal acts and the repercussions. TI-Nepal also, through the letter, inquired about the steps taken by the government to prevent and minimize such activities.
The following press releases were issued to inform the public about issues of contemporary concern:
Press release about anti-corruption day
TI-Nepal issued a press release on November 20, 2014 on the celebration of international anti-corruption day to be held on 9th December. TI-Nepal mentioned the importance of the role of media in the anti-corruption movement and expressed its desire for continued support in this regard.
Press release on the mismanagement of funds in the government
TI-Nepal issued a press statement on August 3, 2014, about the mismanagement of funds occurring within the government offices under the pretense of medical expenses and other budgetary headings.
Press release on CPI
TI-Nepal issued a press release on the release of CPI (Corruption Perception Index-CPI) 2014 on December 3, 2014 about the increase in level of corruption. The CPI is a study conducted by Transparency International that ranks each country according to their corruption levels.
Press release on SAARC agenda
TI-Nepal issued a press release on March 27, 2015 disseminating information about the main recommendations that it had provided to the SAARC summit held in Kathmandu. The press release requested the media for support in disseminating the recommendations to the general public.
Press release against benefits for ‘VVIPs ‘
TI-Nepal issued a press release on June 24, 2015, expressing dissatisfaction over the proposed ordinance that would give so called VIPs and special class government officials lifetime security and other benefits including vehicle and medical support, identical to the one they get while on active service.
Press release on the government policies
TIN issued a press release on July 8, 2015 stating its optimism on the focus on zero tolerance to corruption expressed by the President of Nepal Rt. Hon. Mr. Ram Baran Yadav while delivering government policy. The press release also wished that the policies announced will not be affected by lack of implementation.
Press release on TIN’s intervention for post earthquake activities
On May 10, 2015, TI-Nepal issued a press release informing the press about two major decisions of TI-Nepal; (1) TI-Nepal will play an active role in disseminating information on earthquake aid to the general public and (2) TI-Nepal will acquire information about the sources of aid for the earthquake and will also release that information to the general public.
SUGGESTIONS ON THE CONSTITUTION OF NEPAL 2072
On 2nd July 2015, in an effort to actively participate in the nationwide campaign launched by the Government of Nepal, that sought feedback on the preliminary Draft Constitution of Nepal 2072, TI-Nepal held a consultation meeting with political and socio-economic experts. Chairpersons of thematic committees of the CA, heads of constitutional bodies, civil society representatives, academicians, anti-corruption experts and the media were invited to a discussion to provide their valuable suggestions. Twenty suggestions seeking to enhance transparency, accountability and anti-corruption provisions in the new constitution were forwarded by TI-Nepal to the Constituent Assembly on July 17, 2015. TI Nepal’s recommendations focused on freedom of the press, fundamental rights, directive principles, government functioning, budget, judicial council, constitutional bodies, CIAA, AGO, impeachment, property declaration, code of conduct and political parties, among others. The recommendations seek to enhance features of integrity into the law of the land.
TRANSPARENCY IN EARTHQUAKE AID
To ensure transparency and accountability in the resources related to the devastating earthquake, TI-Nepal started to track the flow of earthquake related aid. Opinions were solicited from the Hon. Finance Minister of Nepal and Transparency International (TI) Secretariat. Currently, Government portals, Financial Tracking Services of the UN, and media reports are being used as sources. Considering that the matter is of public interest, appeals in the form of newspaper adverts and letters have been used to seek information about the funds that have been pledged, committed, or spent in the name of earthquake aid. Around 100 major donor organizations were approached to provide information to TI-Nepal. TI-Nepal intends to compile the information collected from various donors and disseminate it to the public. This is to ensure that all donations and funding for the victims is utilized transparently.
To directly reach out to the victims and witnesses of corruption, TIN launched a number of mobile clinics in public offices in Ilam, Morang, Sunsari, Siraha, Bhaktapur, Rupandehi, Rautahat, Baglung, Butwal, Dang, and Banke districts. The programs were conducted in partnership with TIN’s ALAC DP and BNIN affiliated organizations. Grievance collection booths were established in the premises of selected government offices such as District Administration Office, District Development Committee, Road and Transportation office, and the Office of Land and Revenue etc. These mobile clinics collected grievances from service seekers and complainants at public offices. TIN staff and district partners interacted with the people on the ongoing inefficiency regarding service delivery. IEC material on RTI and good governance were also distributed to visitors.
More than 500 grievances were collected on service delays, misuse of budget, irregularities and bribery. Administrative guidance, facilitation and legal advice were provided to the complainants. The grievances were then brought to the attention of the concerned public authorities for redress through letters. Letters have been received from the concerned offices on grievance redressal steps undertaken. Grievances were also taken up by partners during monthly government meetings held at DAO office. This initiative helps TIN to engage directly with the public and government offices.
Constant engagements on the anti-corruption agenda has built media interest on TIN events and news. Activities like CPI, establishment day, anti-corruption day appeal, seminars/meetings and TI-Nepal media advisories have regularly featured in national dailies, radio and TV. Media interest in TI-Nepal’s activism has been observed in newspapers, TV and radio, in and out of Kathmandu, seeking to quote TI-Nepal on governance issues. News about TI-Nepal’s activism and initiatives at the district level is increasing in places where affiliated organizations have media partnerships. To mobilize the media on a regular basis, adverts and press releases were made regularly during the year on issues brought to the attention of the government and stakeholders. In addition, TI-Nepal in coordination with its 13 AOs working under the ALACDP program provided Media Fellowships to journalists to write about corruption at the local level. Media engagements have enhanced TIN visibility for better advocacy and intervention.
REVIEWING JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT
On August 6, 2015, TI-Nepal organized an interaction program, to draw public attention in the appointment of justices in the judiciary. The discussion was held among experts with Dr. Bipin Adhikary presenting a paper on the prevailing practices of judicial appointment in Nepal and some other countries.
Issues highlighted during the discussion included the need to expand the scope and mandate of the Judicial Council (JC), the necessity of a separate wing for investigation of corruption in the judiciary, publication of names of candidates shortlisted by the JC for public scrutiny, revamping the current parliamentary hearing system, abolishing the current practice of appointments based on political and other linkages, and strengthening the role of the chief justice for stronger accountability and leadership in the judicial sector. JC member Ram Situala opined that the newly reorganized JC is initiating steps to bring more integrity to the appointment process. TIN recommendations are being presented to the Judicial Council to promote integrity in the judicial process.
WOMEN AND YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
Studies indicate that corruption has a profound impact on women and youth in accessing resources and public services. Therefore, understanding women and youth is an indispensible part of the anti-corruption movement. TI-Nepal under ALAC program and in coordination with the Professional Women Support Group (PWSG) and National Youth Federation Nepal (NYFN) organized two workshops targeting women and youth from different socio-economic groups on February 20, 2015 and March 1, 2015 respectively. The workshop informed targeted groups about the significant role that each can play in the fight against corruption by sharing the best practices of TI-India and TI-Bangladesh. The events also focused on informing the participants about the provision of ALAC and the importance of speaking out against corruption by lodging a complaint at TI-Nepal. As vulnerable groups, women and youth are less likely to be aware of their rights, hence the events helped to open new frontiers of support.
CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX (CPI) RELEASE
On December 3, 2014, TI Nepal released the TI flagship survey, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014, in Kathmandu. Nepal slipped 2 points in the index from a score of 31 in 2013 to 29 in 2014 out of 100. A score of ‘0′ denotes most corrupt and ‘100′ denotes least corrupt. This drop was primarily due to the feedback of the business sector, which felt an increased influence of corruption in business. The survey received maximum coverage from all quarters, including the media. CPI has been a prime tool to bring corruption in the national discourse thereby enhancing the think-tank image of TI-Nepal.