KATHMANDU, April 24: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament has instructed the government to immediately stop illegal fund transfers and dole-outs issued to petty and political-interest projects.
Lawmakers at the PAC that grilled the top officials of Ministry of Finance (MoF) and National Planning Commission (NPC) on fiscal irregularity on Tuesday flayed them for their latest move that allowed Ministry of Local Development to transfer Rs 500 million from the heading of ´social security´ and use it in construction of the village-level roads and other projects pushed by the political leaders.
"We instruct the MoF and all the government authority to immediately stop such fund transfer and dole-outs to meaningless programs," said PAC Chairman Ram Krishna Yadav.
PAC also asked the government to recoup the amount transferred from social security programs and use it for the purpose it was allocated for. During the meeting, lawmakers lambasted the officials guarding the national coffer for their failure in maintaining basic fiscal discipline.
"If the allocations made under different headings are still unused, they must be pooled and used in the larger and meaningful projects. But instead of doing that, MoF has allowed different ministries to transfer fund at will, granting permission for misusing the country´s scarce resource. This is intolerable," said Nepali Congress lawmaker Dip Kumar Upadhyaya.
Lawmakers opined that funds issued to petty village-level projects in the last quarter of fiscal year are neither effectively utilized nor they make any positive contribution to give villages a facelift. Their conclusion was; such budgets serve only the political interests of leaders and are largely distributed among political-elites nexus.
Making such assessment, PAC also asked MoF to furnish it within a week the details of fund transfers made so far.
Lawmakers at PAC also flayed the MoF for its decision to appoint senior official that investigated the case of fake VAT receipts in Revenue Tribunal. MoF had recently decided to appoint Laxman Aryal, the then deputy director general of Inland Revenue Department who spearheaded the investigation against fake VAT receipt racket, to the Revenue Tribunal.
MoF had made the appointment after Revenue Tribunal in its recent decisions issued verdict in favor of firms that challenged IRD´s findings on fake VAT receipt racket. MoF had argued Aryal´s appointment was crucial mainly because junior staff of the Ministry represented in the Tribunal failed to understand the complexities of the racket and defend the IRD´s decisions.
But lawmakers at PAC said the person who investigated the cases, slapped tax and fine liability to firms cannot be expected to give independent and unbiased judgment on cases that the private firms filed against the IRD.
"Such appointment goes against the spirit of fair judiciary and trials. Hence, we instruct the MoF to immediately withdraw its decision to appoint investigating official in the Tribunal," said Yadav.