While a parliamentary committee and other stakeholders are debating the misuse of state facilities and pressing for the formulation of laws to control such misuse, former home ministers are found to have been using up to 10 security personnel for their conveniences.
The security conveniences include personal security, escort security and residence security. Of the former ministers, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Govinda Raj Joshi, Purna Bahadur Khadka and Madhav Ghimire have been using about 10 security personnel each, including seven APF personnel and three PSOs from Nepal Police. The number of security personnel excludes those provided to incumbent Deputy Prime Ministers Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, Kamal Thapa and Bhim Rawal, who have also served as home ministers since the restoration of multiparty democracy in 1990.
Of the 17 former home ministers, Bam Dev Gautam, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Dan Bahadur Shahi, Buddhiman Tamang, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Ram Chandra Paudel, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Niranjan Thapa have been using three Nepal Police personnel each as PSOs.Yog Prasad Upadhyaya has not sought any security from govenrment while Dharma Bahadur Thapa is already deceased.
According to AIG Kedar Saud, director of Operations Department at Nepal Police, the number of security personnel provided depends on the security threat assessment. “On the basis of occasional cabinet decisions and the customary practices of the concerned agencies, we provide security to the former dignitaries,” AIG Saud said.
However, lawmakers do not agree with the explanations provided by security authorities, and speak of huge misuse of national assets, adding a financial burden on state coffers.
Lawmaker Janak Raj Joshi, coordinator of the Parliamentary Sub-committee on Good Governance and Monitoring, said, “The preliminary findings are that former home ministers have misused not only security personnel but also government vehicles, fuel, drivers, maintenance funds, utilities and others.
He also said that most of them do not need any security personnel as there is no threat assessment.
The security agencies can withdraw the security facilities three years after the incumbency of the minister but the facilities can be restored if the Central Security Committee so recommends.
The parliamentary sub-committee found that over Rs 4 million each is spent on average every year on the former dignitaries, including home ministers, and over 7,000 security personnel have been deployed for their security.
“Most of the former home ministers do not face much security threat but have sought security personnel just to show off and to grab whatever facilities they can,” Joshi said.
He estimated that Rs 61,200,000 will be spent on the former home ministers per year and expressed serious concern that no one is asking any questions.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly directed the government to enact a law in this regard but so far this has not been done. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs had presented two bills–’Security and Facilities Provided to former Dignitaries and VIPs’ and ‘Private Security Services Business Regulation and Management’ –in the past, but both bills were taken back by the government citing various reasons