Health ministry under investigation

KATHMANDU, May 15: The National Vigilance Center (NVC) has started investigation over the ´illegal´ transfer of Emergency and Trauma Center under the jurisdiction of Health and Population Ministry. Following a complaint of the ´illegal´ transfer of the trauma center, the NVC had raided the Health Ministry on Sunday and taken control of all documents of Emergency and Trauma Center from the Ministry. [break] “We have taken control of all documents of the Emergency and Trauma Center from the Health Ministry and we will investigate the case to bring out facts,” said Krishna Prasad Poudel, spokesperson at the NVC. The Nepal and Indian government had signed a deal to establish the 200-bed Emergency and Trauma Center, under National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), at Mahaboudha in 2003. The trauma center is all set to come into action as construction of the building has been completed. Health Minister Rajendra Mahato had urged the government to transfer the ownership of the trauma center to Health Ministry saying the NAMS is not doing enough to bring the trauma center into action. On a basis of reasons presented by Mahato, the government on May 3, permitted the Health Ministry to bring the trauma center under its jurisdiction. However, the officials at NVC said the move carried out to fulfill minister´s his vested interest. Talking to Republica, Sher Bahadur Dhungana, under secretary at NVC, alleged Health and Population Minister Rajendra Mahato had brought the trauma center under his ministry´s jurisdiction to conduct financial irregularities. “As the trauma center is all set to come into action, Mahato took the ownership so that he could conduct financial irregularities and take other benefits,” he said, adding, “If that is not the case, why didn´t he show any interest towards the center earlier?” Dhungana added that NVC had received a tip-off that Mahato was hatching corruption plans with a motive of providing jobs to people close to him and recieve kickbacks. “Mahato´s corruption plan is crystal clear and we will conduct a detailed-investigation of this case,” Dhungana concluded. Meanwhile, the NAMS has already formed a committee under the leadership of Professor Ashok Ratna Bajracharya and the committee has prepared a Terms of Reference (TOR) and trained required manpower for 200-bed trauma center.