THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The city corporation has initiated steps to recover Rs 33.96 lakh which was lost through financial manipulations committed by seven staff. Accordingly, a special team has been constituted which is led by the accounts officer of the local fund audit team.
The team will serve notices on all tainted staff and the money will be recovered through various sources. Meanwhile, the police probe is also being carried out simultaneously to find out the swindled money.
So far, an amount of Rs 1.26 lakh has been recovered from Biju, an attendant of Sreekariyam zonal office. He was one among the arrested staff on charges of cheating and forgery. Biju had swindled Rs 1,26,000 which was a one-day revenue collection.
An amount of around Rs 4 lakh which was embezzled still needs to be recovered from the Sreekariyam zonal office. Similarly, the corporation will soon recover an amount of Rs 1,07,000 from the arrested staffer from Attipra zonal office as he also swindled one-day revenue collection. However, the challenge before the corporation is to recover Rs 26.7 lakh which was lost from Nemom zonal office alone.
According to a source in the corporation, though the arrested staff, S Shanthi, superintendent, and S Sunita, cashier of Nemom zonal office were responsible for the corruption, there may be eight to nine more staff involved in it but they might have been transferred to other local-self government offices in due course of time.
"There were eight to nine staff involved in the corruption at the Nemom zonal office alone. The swindled money amounted to the revenue collection of 16 days. Though it was a supervisory lapse, it is difficult to trace all the people involved. However, the corporation has formed a special team from the local fund audit to recover the money at the earliest. The Nemom and Kazhakoottam police are also investigating where this money is kept," a senior officer told The New Indian Express.
A total of seven staff of three zonal offices - Nemom, Sreekariyam and Attipra are involved in the scam to the tune of Rs 33.96 lakh. So far, the police arrested four staff members. All the seven staff were earlier suspended by the corporation after the Kerala State Audit Department's concurrent audit found that money received as taxes was misappropriated by the employees of the Nemom, Sreekariyam and Attipra zonal offices of the corporation.
The fraud was first detected at Sreekariyam office. Two staff, office attendant Biju and bill collector Anil are accused of diverting Rs 5.04 lakh from the office. Later, similar fraud was reported at Nemom and Attipra zonal offices.
Difficult to trace other tainted staff at Nemom
Though the arrested staff, S Shanthi, superintendent, and S Sunita, cashier of Nemom zonal office were responsible for the corruption, there may be eight to nine more staff involved in it. But they might have been transferred to other local-self government offices in due course of time, said a source.