Sub-metropolis misused Rs 30m social security money
POKHARA, Oct 19: It has come to light that Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City misused around Rs 30 million in social security allowances. Similarly, a VDC secretary in Kaski district is found to have embezzled Rs 2.8 million meant for social security allowance payments and used the amount for family expenses.
The sub-metropolis is found to have deflected the social security allowance budget allocation from the District Development Committee (DDC) and used it under other expenditure heads.
The DDC recently formed a probe committee to investigate the issue. According to information provided by the DDC, Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City deflected Rs 26.2 million allocated to it as social security allowance for the old and disabled.
Local Development Officer (LDO) Ishwor Raj Poudel said that the sub-metropolitan city misused a huge amount of social security allowance in fiscal year 2009/2010. He also informed that a high level committee has already been formed to investigate the matter.
It is learnt that the sub-metropolis used the social security budget to pay staff salaries. According to sources, then chief executive officers at the sub-metropolis Tilak Poudel and Meghnath Kafle had transferred the budget amounts to pay staff salaries. The arrears that began accumulating since their terms in office have reached over Rs 90 million so far.
Kaski DDC had allocated Rs 530.64 million to Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City under the social security allowance head in fiscal year 2009/10. According to LDO Poudel, the sub-metropolis had submitted bills for Rs 25.282 million to the DDC. The sub-metropolis refunded 1.5 million to the DDC and rest has been deflected. Poudel was of the opinion that misuse of the social security allowance was a serious matter.
Altogether 4,808 people in the sub-metropolis are receiving social security allowances at present. Out of those eligible for the allowance, 3,532 (senior citizens and Dalits) are receiving Old age allowances whereas 44 disabled and 1,232 single women are receiving their respective allowances. Besides, 597 have been receiving child protection allowance.
The totally disabled are provided Rs 1,000 per month and others receive Rs 500. According to an officer, the sub-metropolis distributed Rs 35.03 million as social security allowance. He also informed that although there was some irregularity in the social security budget in fiscal year 2009/10, it is now being distributed regularly.
“As internal resources could not meet the administrative expenses, the sub-metropolis had to use the social security budget to pay the salaries of its staff, who staged a protest demanding pay on time,” said the source. According to LDO Poudel, after the start of the probe, the sub-metropolis has started refunding the arrears to the DDC.
“The sub-metropolis refunded Rs 30.2 million on Thursday ”, said DDC accounts officer Hari Pangeni. It still has Rs 26.2 million in arrears.
The chief executive officer said the amount was spent under different budget heads and it was not corruption. He also claimed that he has been working to manage the accounts properly.
VDC secy swindles Rs 2.8 million in social security allowance
Krisha Raj Poudel, secretary at Deurali VDC in Kaski district, was found embezzling Rs 2.8 million from the social security allowance. Poudel spent last year´s entire social security allowance budget for his son´s study abroad, according to a source.
Poudel has been transferred to Lamjung. Kaski LDO Poudel confirmed that the DDC had found the Deurali VDC secretary embezzling the budget meant for the allowances. LDO Poudel further informed that a complaint has been filed against the VDC secretary at the Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) after he was found misusing Rs 7.2 million in allowances in Lamjung also.