KATHMANDU, May 20: The liaison officers (LOs) who are deployed for managing mountain expeditions are hired on the basis of their access to ‘higher-ups’. The private secretaries of the Minister of Tourism, various party-affiliated employees' unions, officials of organizations, and the employees of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) go to the mountain climbing time and again as liaison officers. But the employees who do not have links with powerful people do not get the opportunity even after completing five-six years of training to become a liaison officer.

KATHMANDU, Aug 27: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has sought clarifications from 15 Liaison Officers (LOs) who allegedly produced expedition reports without hitting the base camp when they were assigned as LOs for Everest expeditions in this year's spring season. Of the 37 LOs deployed for managing Everest expedition, 15 were found pocketing the government-provided funds without reaching the base camp and submitting the reports, as reported by the expedition companies.

Our months-long investigation reveals chilling collusion among liaison officers (LOs), expedition companies and bureaucrats at the Ministry to award summit certificates to fake climbers. Moreover, politicians and those in powerful positions vouch for individuals to be an LO, but majority of those selected as LOs never stay in the Everest Base Camp (EBC) during the climbing season.