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kukl chief appointment : PM washes hands off row

KATHMANDU, DEC 18 - Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Tuesday said that as a ‘law-abiding citizen’ he was watchful of the possible ‘misuse of authority.’ He also denied he was involved in any malpractice whatsoever.

Bhattarai was referring to allegations that he was guided by ‘prospects of benefit’ and had intervened in the appointment of the chairperson of the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL).  

The 173rd meeting of the board of directors of the KUKL had on December 7 decided to appoint Prof Timila Yami Thapa, Bhattarai’s sister-in-law, as the KUKL chairperson by replacing Prayaglal Joshi.

In his capacity of the Minister for Urban Development, the PM organised a press conference in his office on Tuesday to clear the air over the appointment.

“I am ready to face any kind of punishment if I am found guilty. I neither gained a financial benefit nor did I pile pressure on the KUKL board to appoint her,” the PM said. Bhattarai was forced to clarify as donors also raised the issue of corruption and nepotism in a recent government-donor interaction.

The KUKL controversy, according to the donors, is a litmus test for them, which showed that as much as pressure from coalition partners and corruption therein, this government is plagued by nepotism. The donors were also concerned about the ‘accountability crisis’ at the central level in the absence of a parliament and non-appointment of officials in constitutional bodies.

The PM said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by reports in the media that said he was involved in the KUKL appointment.

“Some media blew the issue out of proportion and only focused on the appointment, but did not cover other pressing issues that the board has been facing recurrently,” he said. Thapa’s appointment was made as per the rules, he added.

Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development Kishor Thapa said Thapa was appointed as per the KUKL Board Act, 2064.

Posted on: 2012-12-19 08:32

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