High Court blocks newly-appointed IBN CEO Bhatta to assume office

Published On: August 11, 2020 08:05 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Court to decide whether to continue the interim order on Sunday   

KATHMANDU, Aug 11: The High Court Patan has issued an interim order against the government staying its earlier decision to appoint Sushil Bhatta as the Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Board of Nepal.

A single-bench of Chief Judge of High Court Patan Nahakul Subedi ordered the government not to execute its decision to appoint Bhatt as the Investment Board’s CEO and not allow Bhatta to carry out any works in the capacity of the CEO.

Responding to a writ petition filed by Advocate Jaya Bahadur Bhujel to challenge the appointment, the High Court issued the short-term interim order staying the appointment of Bhatta.

In his writ petition, the petitioner had argued that Bhatta lacks experience of a 10-year managerial experience required in accordance with the Public-Private Partnership and Investment Act, 2075 for the appointment of the CEO of Investment Board.  

A cabinet meeting held on August 3 had decided to appoint Bhatta as the CEO fof the Investment Board. By leaving behind two other candidates who were recommended for the IBN’s CEO, the cabinet had decided to appoint Bhatta as the chief of the Investment Board. Bhatta is serving as a member of the National Planning Commission.

The post of CEO was lying vacant since April first week after the then CEO Maha Prasad Adhikari was appointed as the Nepal Rastra Bank’s Governor.  

The decision landed into controversy as Bhatta’s brother Deepak Prakash Bhatta, an agent for various international contractors, reportedly influenced the Prime Minister to secure his appointment as the Investment Board’s CEO. Some have also raised concerns over possible conflict of interest as his brother is involved in various projects that the board itself has awarded their contracts.

The short-term interim order will block the way for Bhatta to assume the post. While the cabinet made the decision of the appointment last week, Bhatta is yet to be sworn in as the CEO and assume his office.

The next hearing on the case has been scheduled for Sunday. The next hearing will decide on whether to give the continuity to its interim order or clear the legal way for Bhatta to assume the office.

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