PM Oli races to get new anti-graft watchdog boss, heads for a showdown with Prachanda

Updated on Dec 15, 2020 09:34 PM IST
Former home secretary Prem Kumar Rai could be appointed to head Nepal’s powerful anti-graft watchdog Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
Face-off: Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, also known as KP Oli, is headed for a showdown with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda.(REUTERS)
Face-off: Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, also known as KP Oli, is headed for a showdown with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda.(REUTERS)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the ruling party’s rival faction led by Pushpa Kumar Dahal aka Prachanda appears headed for a showdown this week over the possible appointment of former home secretary Prem Kumar Rai as the next chief of the Himalayan nation’s top anti-graft watchdog.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Tuesday afternoon signed off on an executive order to reduce the quorum for meetings of the prime minister-headed Constitutional Council that is empowered to appoint officials of constitutional bodies such as the powerful Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

The ordinance was issued hours after speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Sapkota skipped the council’s meeting, forcing PM Oli to reschedule it to later in the evening. “The speaker could not attend the Constitutional Council meeting because there was a lack of preparations and homework… Also there was no coordination on the part of the [council] chairman,” Sapkota’s press advisor Shreedhar Neupane said, according to the Kathmandu Post.

Once the ordinance that brings down the quorum of the six-member council to four was issued, PM Oli convened the council’s meeting again on Tuesday evening.

Apart from PM Oli, the other members of the council are chief justice, speaker, deputy speaker, chair of the National Assembly and the leader of the opposition. The deputy speaker’s post is vacant.

“Today’s meeting of the Constitutional Council has discussed the appointments to various vacant constitutional commissions,” National Assembly chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsina said after the meeting, according to Nepali website Kantipur. He did not elaborate.

Nepal watchers said PM Oli is keen to get the council to appoint former home secretary Prem Kumar Rai to head the powerful Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority as its chief commissioner. The commission is mandated by the Constitution to investigate persons holding public office and their associates for corruption.

Leaders of Prachanda’s faction within the ruling party underline that any appointment by the Oli-led government before holding consultations with the Prachanda faction would be a violation of the peace pact between PM Oli and Prachanda.

One of the conditions to let PM Oli continue as the NCP chairperson and the prime minister was that he would consult the party leadership before a policy decision or a key appointment.

PM Oli’s rivals suspect that the prime minister would like the anti-graft commission to probe Prachanda and his associates who have been piling pressure on him to step down.

The NCP was formed in 2018 with the merger of the PM Oli -fronted Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the Prachanda-led Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). The honeymoon, however, did not last long and the merged entity which came to power, the NCP, has been staring at a split for months.

PM Oli’s rushed effort to get the anti-graft watchdog chief’s appointment through comes right ahead of the meeting of the communist party’s standing committee where Prachanda and his associates including former prime minister Madhav Nepal are expected to ramp up pressure on PM Oli to quit and go ahead with key appointments only after consulting them.


    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • With Sunak showing little sign of making inroads, Truss is the hot favorite to become the party’s and the country’s next leader.

    Rishi Sunak losing UK prime minister race, trails Liz Truss by 32 points

    Liz Truss led Rishi Sunak by 32 points in the latest survey of UK Tory members by the ConservativeHome website, suggesting she remains on track to win the race to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister. Some 60% of the 961 Tory members polled by the influential website said they favored Truss to become the Conservative Party's new leader, while just 28% backed Sunak, ConservativeHome said on Wednesday.

  • Afghanistan, where Taliban are ruling now, however, is yet to meet the expectations of both China as well as Pakistan on many counts.

    China wants military outposts in Pakistan to safeguard its investments

    Having made significant investments in the conflict-prone Pakistan-Afghanistan region as part of its hugely ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is planning to protect its interests in the two countries by stationing its own forces in specially created outposts, according to top diplomatic sources. Pakistan, where according to some estimates the Chinese investments have risen above USD 60 billion, is largely dependent on China not only for financial but also military and diplomatic support.

  • US Representative Liz Cheney at an election night event during the Wyoming primary election.

    Republican leader who voted for Trump's impeachment loses Wyoming primary

    Cheney will now be forced from Congress at the end of her third and final term in January. Far, US President Donald Trump's has helped install loyalists who parrot his conspiracy theories in general election matchups from Pennsylvania to Arizona. With Cheney's loss, Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are going extinct. Democrats across America, major donors among them, took notice. Trump earned nearly 70% of the vote in 2016 and 2020.

  • Former US President Donald Trump.

    Trump says FBI returned his passports: 'Unfortunately, they just grabbed…'

    Former US president Donald Trump on Wednesday said that the department of justice and the FBI returned his passports seized during the raid at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last week. Trump said on Tuesday in a statement in a Truth Social post. On Monday, he alleged that the federal law enforcement agency “stole” three passports, one of which he said was expired.

  • Arizona's allocation from the river will fall by 21 percent in 2023, while Nevada will get eight percent less.

    US cuts water supply for some states, Mexico as drought bites

    Water supplies to some US states and Mexico will be cut to avoid "catastrophic collapse" of the Colorado River, Washington officials said Tuesday, as a historic drought bites. Arizona's allocation from the river will fall by 21 percent in 2023, while Nevada will get eight percent less. Mexico's allotment will drop by seven percent. It is fed chiefly by snowpack at high altitudes, which melts slowly throughout the warmer months.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now