Government anti-corruption body takes strong measures amid IT sector irregularities

KATHMANDU: In response to recent irregularities within the Information Technology (IT) sector, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has issued a stern directive to all three levels of government, urging heightened vigilance in IT-related procurement and operations.

The CIAA, acting through the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, has mandated increased caution among federal ministries, provincial governments, and local bodies. The move comes as concerns escalate over the excessive depletion of limited resources in IT procurement, prompting a comprehensive analysis of corruption risks during expenditure scrutiny.

Expressing their concerns, the CIAA has dispatched a 10-point advisory letter to stakeholders, emphasizing the necessity for thorough studies, resource assurance, and meticulous analysis of benefits and maintenance costs. The authority underscores the importance of adhering to updated standards in hardware and software, advocating for regular updates to minimize vulnerabilities.

The irregularities in Nepal Telecommunication Authority’s acquisition of TERAMOX and MDMS systems have prompted the CIAA to file corruption cases in the special court. Additionally, discrepancies in the security printing center and the National Payment System have led to further corruption filings by the authority.

Recognizing the need for policy enhancements, the CIAA, in a memorandum, states, “The inappropriate use of complex technology in information technology and corruption-prone actions in the public sector have been observed.”

Recent investigations by the CIAA, resulting in two specific cases filed in the special court, have shed light on multiple issues within the IT sector. The authority is actively pursuing inquiries into several more cases, signaling a call for significant policy improvements.

The CIAA’s directive stresses the importance of preventing unauthorized access to databases, particularly by employees under the guise of administration. The authority insists on maintaining a secure network and limiting access to the internal population.

Addressing instances of unauthorized access at the Transport Office, the CIAA has taken the measure of revoking licenses. Notably, the authority had previously intensified scrutiny over the procurement process of Nepal Telecom’s new billing system.

In collaboration with suspended officials Sunil Paudel and Bikal Paudel, the CIAA is intensifying research and analysis. Both officials face charges of illegal property acquisition.

As part of ongoing investigations, the CIAA is examining various issues related to Nepal Telecom’s billing maintenance contract, the second part of the payment gateway, and unauthorized entries into the Transport Management Department’s database.

The CIAA’s advisory underscores the importance of adhering to national standards in preparing and implementing specifications and costs for information technology, hardware, and software on a regular basis.

Determined to bolster internal capabilities within the information technology domain, the CIAA advocates for an updated operating procedure and manual for the operation of national and third-party audits (IT audit).

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday February 9, 2024, 11:18:43 AM |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *