KATHMANDU, Nov 11: A probe panel formed by the Insurance Board IB) - the insurance sector regulator - has started collecting information from Rastriya Beema Sansthan (RBS) to examine the legitimacy of perks and benefits that RBS staff members are enjoying.
The IB took the step as per the direction of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) - the constitutional anti-corruption body.
The panel, which was formed about a week ago, is led by IB board member Narendra Man Shrestha.
According to sources, the CIAA directed the insurance regulator to look into the issue based on a complaint lodged with it. Earlier, the anti-graft body had repeatedly asked the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to recover about Rs 80 million paid illegally to employees in the name of prize money. But the MoF did nothing more than forwarding the direction to RBS administration.
The RBS employees are drawing salary of 23 months annually. The financial health of RBS is unknown as the state-owned insurer has not conducted its audit since eight years.
Members of the probe panel visited RBS last week and asked the administration to furnish basis under which benefits like prize money, educational allowance, telephone allowance, and up to Rs 3.5 million loan facility were given to the employees. The panel has also been asked to collect details of benefits doled out to employees under different headings.
“We have asked the RBS administration to provide us approval documents on the basis of which payments were made to the employees,” a member of the panel told Republica.
As per the existing provision, the RBS must seek approval of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on major financial decision. But the administration has been found bypassing the MoF to dole out benefits to employees due to pressure from the employees" unions.
According to IB officials, the undergoing investigation is the first of its kind in RBS launched by the insurance regulator.Apart from grave financial indiscipline, there are number of occasions when RBS administration has not responded to IB directions.
The panel will submit its report to the IB within November-end.
Talking to Republica, Ram Bahadur Khadka, Chief Administrator of RBS, said they would provide all the documents sought by the probe team within a couple of days.
Meanwhile, the RBS employees have piled pressure on the administration to pay them prize money, equivalent to one month salary, of this year. In the past years, employees used to draw prize money together with Dashain allowance.
They, however, had denied the prize money this year after the CIAA arrested top brass of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on the charge of making bonus payment to employees illegally.