KATHMANDU, Jan 14: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has sued 814 individuals for misappropriations totaling over Rs 4 billion during the last fiscal year.

Releasing its annual report on Monday, the anti-graft body said 814 individuals were implicated in 351 corruption cases. Of the total corruption accused dragged to the Special Court, 256 are officers, 384 low-ranking staffers including peons, 95 elected or nominated people’s’ representatives and 159 middlemen.

According to a press release issued by the CIAA, a record number of corruption complaints were filed at the commission in the last fiscal year 2075-76. A total of 24,085 corruption complaints were registered at the commission in last fiscal year whereas 16,997 cases unsettled in the fiscal year 2074-075 were also added as additional burden to the commission.

Of the total cases filed in fiscal year 2075-076, the CIAA claimed that 15,527 were settled whereas the remaining 8,558 remained unsettled and investigation into them is continuing.

As briefed by the anti-graft body by organizing a press meet at its headquarters, among the settled corruption cases, 6047 were put on hold after concluding that no further investigation on them is needed, whereas detailed investigations are being conducted into 881 cases.

Most complaints, according to the annual report, were related to federal affairs and general administration ministry followed by the education ministry, land reform ministry and forest and environment ministry.  Over 26.87 percent of the total complaints were related to federal affairs and general administration ministry.

The CIAA said Province 2 leads the provinces in the number of corruption complaints, Province 3 comes second and Province 5 third. Likewise, Karnali is the least corrupt province in terms of the number of corruption complaints filed at the CIAA.

Various national and international corruption watchdog organizations including Transparency International have listed Nepal as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. CIAA officials said increasing corruption in local bodies, which fall under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, even after having elected people’s representatives is a matter of concern.

Local bodies were left without elected representatives for two decades due to the Maoist insurgency until country held the local elections in 2017. Both the corruption complaints filed at the commission in recent fiscal years and an independent survey commissioned by the anti-graft body have pointed at the local bodies as the most corrupt offices in Nepal.

The survey shows 27.3 percent of the total surveyed individuals have stated that corruption has increased after the 2017 local elections.

The CIAA’s annual report, which was submitted to President Bidya Bhandari, has asked the government to initiate serious policy and institutional reforms to defeat corruption.

The anti-graft body has asked the government to bring new law so that the ministers cannot make haphazard decisions beyond their pay grade.