The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) submitted its annual report to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Thursday.

Acting Chief Commissioner of CIAA, Ganesh Joshi, submitted the report of the fiscal year 2019-20 amid a function at the President’s Office in Shital Niwas. The report was presented in line with Article 294 of the Constitution of Nepal.

While submitting the report, Joshi said that the anti-graft body had received the largest number of complaints against irregularities related to federal affairs and local governments in 2019/20.

Of the 25,152 reported cases of corruption last year, 30.07 percent were related to irregularities in federal affairs and local governments, according to the report. Irregularities in the education sector and land administration accounted for 16.36 percent and 8.29 percent respectively.

Similarly, the report also states that corruption is rampant at local levels as the government failed to check irregularities.

As per the report’s province-wise record, Province 2 recorded largest numbers of complaints related to corruption (23.87 percent) followed by Bagmati Province with 19.59 percent and Lumbini Province with 10.79 percent.

Of the total complaints filed at CIAA last year, it settled 16,952 (67.5 percent).

Of the 441 cases filed by CIAA in the last fiscal year against 1,212 defendants, three were ministers, nine high ranking government officials, and 355 section officers. The anti-graft body also recovered Rs 2.53 billion in cash penalty.

In its report, CIAA has asked the government to enforce a national code of conduct to develop an integrated effort to check corruption that has been on the rise in government bodies, non-government agencies and the private sector.

It has also recommended to the government to promote paperless documentation and digitized payment systems to eliminate the role of middlemen at offices including land revenue, land measurement, foreign employment, tax collection and foreign trade, among others.

Stating that the trend of corruption had increased because decisions regarding contracts and procurement for large projects were being taken through the Council of Ministers instead of related ministries, CIAA urged the government stop such practice so as to curb graft.

The Commission also suggested to classify the policy and administrative decisions to be taken by the Council of Ministers to facilitate its investigation.