Following an investigation into alleged bribery and corruption, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) filed a corruption case at the Special Court against ten individuals, including four senior officials from the state-owned Krishi Samagri Company Limited, on the charge of supplying substandard diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer.
A total of Rs1,005,322,406.72 has been charged against them for alleged acts of corruption. The defendants in the case include the state-owned company’s managing director, Bishnu Prasad Pokharel, assistant manager, Durga Prasad Pandey, and deputy manager, Pushkar Deep Budha, according to a news release from the anti-graft organization.
Aside from being fired, they have been suspended from their jobs until the outcome of the case is reached in accordance with the Corruption Prevention Act 2002.
This includes the selection of an organization to test the quality of the fertilizer without conducting a competitive bidding process and paying the fertilizer supplier 90 percent of its worth.
On the company’s instruction, lab specialists granted excellent quality certification to the inferior fertiliser, according to the commission, and a payment of Rs1,005,322,406.72 (or 90 percent of the purchase price) was made to the supplier.
There have also been five individuals named as defendants in the case who worked for the Nepal Environmental and Scientific Services (P) Ltd, which had done quality testing on the fertilizer. Among those present were Salil Devkota, the firm’s managing director; Sunil Babu Khatri, the lab director; Mahendra Kumar Daga, a senior surveyor; Bholanath Chaudhary, a lab consultant; and Manoj Acharya, who signed the contract for laboratory services on the company’s behalf. According to the commission, Nepal Environmental was not included on the list of organizations shortlisted by the Krishi Samagri Company to undertake quality checks for the company’s products and processes.
Furthermore, Binit Joshi, executive director of Joshi Biz House, the provider of the fertiliser, is also a defendant in the case, according to the complaint.
As reported by the anti-graft organization, the given DAP included 12.4 percent moisture, compared to the maximum allowed of 1.5 percent, and 14.2 percent total nitrogen, compared to the minimum required of 18 percent.
On the other hand, the presence of ammoniacal nitrogen in the fertiliser was 13.6 percent, compared to the minimum requirement of 17 percent, and the presence of phosphorus in the fertiliser was 45.1 percent, compared to the minimum requirement of 46 percent. In addition, only 33.1 percent of the water soluble phosphates were present, compared to a minimum need of 41 percent for this fertilizer. When the fertilizers was tested by the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, the commission stated that the results revealed that the fertiliser was substandard. The commission said it filed the complaint as a result of the testing results.
When the panel launched its investigation, the country was already suffering from a severe shortage of chemical fertilisers, which might have a negative impact on the production of winter grains.