March 26, 2018 02:00 AM NPT
‘Missing’ police personnel
If the government has been providing remuneration, perks and allowances to 72, 733 police personnel and if only 67,000 such personnel are found to be actually working for public security, where are more than 5000 personnel? Either they do not exist, or they have not been counted in the data, or they have been recruited to work in houses of VIPs and senior officials instead of working for the public security or the police department is hiding something. None of these situations are justifiable. There is a glaring mismatch between government data and the one provided by police headquarters regarding the number of police personnel. While the government has approved 72,733 positions for police personnel and salaries and allowances are being released accordingly, police headquarters shows only 67,000 are at work. Where are remaining 5733?
It is troubling that we do not have accurate data of how many police personnel we have, where they are working and for whom. At this age of advanced information and communication technology, maintaining record should not have been a problem at all. That it has become so raises several questions about transparency and accountability of police department. Ministry of Home Affairs has rightly demanded details of all police personnel. It has been suspected that ‘missing’ police could be working as housemaids or helpers at the houses of former home ministers and top police officials. This possibility could not be ruled out for a number of police personnel are seen working at houses of senior officials and politicians even though such facilities are not granted by laws. Anecdotal evidence suggests that thousands of police personnel are working as domestic helps at homes of current and retired senior officers, where they are made to do their shopping, wash dishes and do other household chores. This problem remains in Nepal Army as well. Senior army officials are found to employ low ranked personnel as domestic workers, some of whom reach retirement age without working in army barracks.
These personnel should be returned to respective departments and deployed for security of the common people. As Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi told Republica, “Assigning police personnel recruited for providing security to the general public to anybody’s house for domestic purpose is against the law.” Prime Minister Oli and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa have directed home administration to investigate possible misuse of security personnel by politicians and security officers. Nearly every home minister has made similar promise in the past but it has not materialized so far. PM and Home Minister should take this matter rather seriously. As we are working to institutionalize three tiers of government, more security personnel will be needed at local and provincial governments and secretariats. In case they are found to be misused by senior officials to serve their personal works, those officials should also be held to account. The security personnel who are paid for by taxpayers should be deployed for the security of the public and the government.