The Meghalaya government has authorised an audit of the Central government funds two tribal councils are accused of misusing.
The decision was taken after Governor Satya Pal Malik sought the government’s response to complaints of embezzlement he had received against the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) under the Special Grant Assistance.
Prime among the complainants was Ernest Mawrie, BJP State unit president who had demanded a CBI probe into “misappropriation” of ₹264 crore by the councils.
Both councils are ruled by the National People’s Party (NPP), the largest constituent of the multi-party alliance government, where the BJP is a minor partner.
On Wednesday, District Council Affairs Minister Hamletson Dohling said the Director of Local Fund Audit (DLCA) had been asked to look into the allegations of large-scale corruption in the councils. But no time-frame was given for completing the task.
‘Non-payment of salaries’
Aldous Mawlong, Commissioner-Secretary in charge of the District Council Affairs department, wrote to the DLCA, noting complaints about non-payment of salaries to the officers and staff of the two councils.
“I, therefore, request you to conduct a thorough audit on the expenses made by the GHADC and JHADC during the last five years, from 2015 till 2020 and to submit the report at the earliest,” he wrote.
The allegations include ghost bridges, footpaths, duplication of projects, and repairs to official buildings and guest-houses at very high prices quoted.