NRA CEO Bhusal sacked without due process

Published On: July 6, 2018 02:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Nearly 300 officials lose job due to cabinet decision

KATHMANDU, July 6: The government's decision to terminate all the appointments made last year by the then Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government after the election code of conduct came into effect has also led to the removal of the chief executive officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) Yuba Raj Bhusal among around 300 other political appointees.

However, the government's Wednesday decision which led to CEO Bhusal's removal has been questioned as it contradicts the NRA Act. The erstwhile government had implemented the election code for the House of Representatives and National Assembly elections 2074 from August 30, 2017 till mid-December while Bhusal was appointed as NRA CEO on October 23.

However, sub-section 4 of section 11 of the Act to Provide for Reconstruction of the Earthquake Affected Structures 2072 has stated, “Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section 3, the Government of Nepal may at any time remove the CEO from his or her office if his or her performance is not satisfactory. Provided that, prior to such removal from office, he or she shall be provided with an opportunity to defend himself or herself.”

Bhusal criticized the government's move to sack him without following the due process stated in the Act.

“The government should have given me a chance to defend myself before removing me from the post as per the NRA Act. However, without asking me anything, the cabinet just made a decision that all the political appointments made by the erstwhile government after the election code of conduct came into effect will be annulled,” he said.

He, however, said that he would not move the court against the government decision to remove him even though he has been removed without following due process.

A meeting of the NRA's consultative council meeting scheduled for Thursday morning at the prime minister's official residence, Baluwatar was cancelled due to the cabinet decision's cancel all the political appointments made by the previous government.

The consultative council is chaired by Prime Minister KP Oli himself.

CEO Bhusal had reached Baluwatar for the meeting. But he was told by officials that his appointment was cancelled.

According to the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), Bhusal will be given an official letter about his removal by Friday.

It may be noted that Oli had appointed Sushil Gyewali as NRA chief in December, 2015 during his first stint as prime minister, but the successive coalition government of the Nepali Congress and the then CPN (Maoist Center) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal sacked Oli's appointee and appointed Govinda Raj Pokharel of Nepali Congress to the post in January, 2017. Gyewali was removed, citing unsatisfactory performance. But even then, Gyewali had been given a chance to defend himself before his removal.

Bhusal replaced Govinda Raj Pokharel after the latter resigned to contest the parliamentary elections.

Of late, two NRA executive committee members -- Chandra Bahadur Shrestha and Hari Ram Parajuli – were reportedly lobbying separately with the top leadership of the Nepal Communist Party to have Bhusal removed and their own appointment to the post of the CEO. While Shrestha was appointed executive committee member under the CPN-UML quota, Parajuli was appointed by the CPN (Maoist Center).Apart from the NRA CEO, other top officials from various government bodies have also lost their jobs following Wednesday's cabinet decision.

Among top officials facing sack are Digambar Jha, chairman, Nepal Telecommunications Authority; Sangita Bhandari, vice-chancellor, Rapti Academy of Health Sciences; Chandra Singh Saud, CEO, Nepal Stock Exchange; Raj Kumar Lama, president, Bauddhanath Area Development Committee; Narendra Raj Basnet, president, Bagmati Civilization Integrated Development Committee; and Nikita Paudel, president, Film Development Board, among others.

Nearly 300 government staffers appointed to various sectors by the then Deuba-led government have lost their jobs, according to the OPMCM.

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