Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Lumbini province speaker misuses government vehicles for personal use


Butwal, 20 November (2020) – Purna Bahadur Gharti, Speaker at Lumbini Province Assembly, has bought an expensive Skoda with the state coffers for his personal use.

Not content with Ford and Tata cars given to him, Gharti has bought 10 million rupees car at a time when the economy is in tatters due to the pandemic.

Gharti has been using Ford car with license plate number Ba1Jha 9729 and Tata car with license plate number Ba1Jha 2284. Recently, the assembly secretariat has bought a luxurious Skoda car with license plate number Pradesh 3-01-002Jha5244.

This recent purchase has made a mockery of government policy of austerity during the pandemic.

Speaker Gharti had fought in the armed conflict for the sake of the proletariat but his fascination for bourgeois luxury has surprised members of legislative assembly and civil servants.

Dinesh Adhikari, Information Officer at Province Assembly Secretariat, confirmed that Speaker Gharti has been using three government vehicles.

He said, "All three cars are functional and in use. The secretariat has bought new car for the Speaker recently."

The secretariat didn’t offer any logical answer to the question about the need of buying an expensive car when already two cars were available for use.

Dipendra Panthi, non-gazetted officer at the secretariat, said that he didn't know why the new vehicle was bought.

He said, "The Speaker has been using three vehicles, I can't give you any other information."

Speaker Gharti said that he has kept these vehicles as per the protocol.

He said, "Guests come to meet the Speaker. They need to be brought in the car. I too have to take the car to go shopping. I am not infatuated with cars. They have been bought as required by the official responsibility."

He added, "I had been using old cars. Now we have bought a new one. Procurement process had started much earlier than the pandemic. We have not made huge expenditure during the pandemic."

A total of 5.75 million rupees have been allotted for procurement of vehicles in the FY 2020/21 for province assembly secretariat.

Transparency International Chief Khem Raj Regmi says that anything not permitted by the law is corruption.

"There is no legal provision of Speaker being allowed to use three vehicles," Regmi said. "This is a blatant loot of state treasury. These kinds of activities can make people disillusioned about the federal system."

Regmi objected to the use of government vehicles to carry guests and to go shopping. "Province Home Minister takes care of province guests. The Speaker cannot use government vehicles to carry his relatives and personal assistants."