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Nepal govt's decision to recommend Sushil Bhatt as CEO of Office of the Investment Board sparks criticism

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is likely to appoint Sushil Bhatt as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the "Office of the Investment Board", who has close links with foreign companies including China.

ANI | Kathmandu | Updated: 02-08-2020 20:15 IST | Created: 02-08-2020 19:55 IST
Nepal govt's decision to recommend Sushil Bhatt as CEO of Office of the Investment Board sparks criticism
Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Image Credit: ANI

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is likely to appoint Sushil Bhatt as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the "Office of the Investment Board", who has close links with foreign companies including China. There is lot of criticism over the Oli government's decision to include Sushil Bhatt in the list of recommendations for the post of CEO.

According to a member of the recommendation committee, Oli has already spoken to two people about appointing Sushil Bhatt as the CEO of the board. The sources said that an expert committee led by NRB Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari had studied the 12 proposals submitted for the post of CEO. Sources claimed that the committee has questioned Bhatt's qualifications. Sushil and his brother Deepak Bhatt have been acting as agents of foreign companies and influencing the political parties to win contracts for the construction of big projects, according to sources. Sushil's brother Deepak, who is also a member of the Planning Commission with the support of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, has access to the leadership of all political parties.

While a candidate must have at least 10 years of managerial experience in the field of industrial management, Bhatt has only two years of experience as a member of the Planning Commission. Among the controversial projects undertaken by the two brothers, the two most controversial projects are the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki and the 60-megawatt Upper Trishuli hydropower projects.

Top leaders of all political parties were involved when the Bhatta brothers had handed over the construction of the Budhigandaki hydropower project to the China Gejuwa Group Company, who had mediated as a local agent. The last meeting of the Council of Ministers led by Prachanda had decided to hand over the construction to Gejuwa. Bhatta brothers are well known among the political leaders as local agent who mediation between the political leadership and the employees while taking the contract and to do some irregularities. According to sources, the Bhatt brothers had manipulated to increase the capacity and cost of the 60 MW Upper Trishuli 3A.

According to a minister, Bhatt chairing the investment board could stall large-scale infrastructure projects that are already underway. In the future, it will be easier for Bhatta brothers to manipulate in the investment of the project, the minister added. Besides Sushil Bhat, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada will be sending the names of Ram Krishna Khatiwada, a former member of the Electricity Regulatory Commission and Saroj Koirala, CEO of the State 1 Investment Authority as a recommendation for the CEO post to the Council of Ministers.


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