Following controversy over the import of substandard transformers, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board has sought a written clarification from the authority’s acting managing director Mahendra Lal Shrestha. An NEA board meeting on Thursday took a decision to this effect.
A sub-committee under NEA board member Mohan Pant, which submitted its report on Monday, has named some 30 NEA officials, including Shrestha and some retired officials, involved in the import of transformers.
“I have asked Shrestha to furnish a written clarification by Sunday,” said Energy Secretary Hari Ram Koirala, who is also the chairman of NEA. “If he fails to clarify, stern action will be taken against him.” NEA board members said Shrestha could even lose his job if found guilty.
Other officials the Pant-let committee found involved in the scam include NEA’s general managers Upendra Dev Bhatta, Chirinjabi Poudel and Ganesh Prasad Raj; Sindhu Yadav; Surendra Prasad Paneru; Surendra Raj Joshi; Avisek Adhikary; Bodraj Dhaka; Satish Kumar Karna; Nabaraj Ojha; Manoj Baral; Suraj Prasad Shah; and Madan Chapagain.
NEA board member Krishna Prasad Dulal said once the chairman decides Shrestha’s fate, the board will begin action against others involved.
“As the acting managing director himself has been accused of being the part of the scam, further steps will be taken carefully,” he said.
The investigation began six months ago after problems appeared in transformers imported from China and Thailand. The inferior transformers resulted in higher leakages and some of them went defunct early. Such problems were seen in all 4,657 units imported in the last five years.
Over the period, NEA imported transformers from a Thai company—Sahabhant Electric Co Ltd—and four Chinese companies—Shenyang Dongneng Electricity Equipment Co Ltd, Hu Bei Sunlight Electric Co Ltd, SVR Electrical Pvt Ltd and Sichuan Dongfang Transformer Co Ltd.
Source : The Kathmandu Post