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Corruption control system has been weak, finds ACC’s report

The national integrity score decreased by 0.42 points to 7.95 in the National Integrity Assessment (NIA) 2016 from NIA 2012.

However, the report states that the score still depicts a very good status of national integrity.

The decrease in the score is attributed to the decrease in the score of external integrity. This indicates that the service users faced problems to get services fairly and transparently.

The external integrity score decreased to 7.89 in NIA 2016 from 8.50 in NIA 2012. The report cites a decrease in transparency and accountability as perceived by the service users as the main reason.

Internal integrity score increased to 8.10 percent from 7.89. This indicates improvements in the management of internal affairs of agencies in terms of budget execution and corruption control systems.

Transparency and accountability, the report states, are vital components of good governance. According to the report, transparency concerns the flow of information whereas accountability regulates and guides the behavior of the public officials.

According to an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) official, the survey was carried out in 2017.

The report puts the transparency score at 7.68, which it says is an indication of a good level of transparency in terms of openness of work and practicality of standards and procedures related services provided by public agencies.

However, the integrity score for transparency index decreased by 0.67 points. The decrease is attributed to weak sharing of information culminating from weak data repository, information management and cumbersome procedures in availing services.

The NIA reports accountability at 6.86, a decrease by 0.80 points from 2012. However, the report still maintains that the score indicates a good level of transparency in terms of ethical conduct and efforts of public officials to accomplish duties.

The prevalence of abuse of power and lack of efforts by public officials across the agencies to accomplish duties is cited as the reason behind the slight decrease in the score.

“Timely delivery of services is one of the important aspects in assessing accountability. However, the respondents stated there were unnecessary delays in service delivery by public officials because of the existence of abuse of power,” the report states.

The delay in service delivery, the report states, compelled service users to resort to making payments in cash or in-kind, entertainment and other forms of gratification to avail timely services.

The average amount of payments made in cash or in-kind was Nu 70,000 while the average amount of entertainment and other forms of gratification was Nu 135,000.

Although the frequency of entertainment and gratification provided was less compared to the payments made in cash or in-kind, the amount paid was almost double.

The ACC found that unjustifiable manipulation in budget execution was done either for personal gain or to favour family and friends. According to the report, the average amount of unjustifiable manipulation in the execution of budget for personal gain and to favour family and friends were Nu 7.075 million (M) and Nu 5.91M respectively.

The report highlights that the average frequency and amount of unjustifiable manipulation in the execution of budget for personal gain and to favour family and friends doubled.

Weak organisational culture encourages employees to involve in corrupt practices, the report states. However, it adds that this also depends on how strong the agencies are in resisting corruption through integration of moral values and fairness in the performance of the duties by the employees.

The findings conclude that the corruption control system has been weak and calls for creation of conducive environment in agencies to report corruption and wrongdoings and enhancing checks and balance.

The findings are based on the responses of 8,706 service users and 2,108 service providers the NIA interviewed.

The respondents were asked for their views on various aspects of corruption pertaining to the seriousness of corruption problem, trend of corruption in the last five years, prevalence of types of corruption and ACC’s effort in combating corruption.

MB Subba

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