HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today told Minister for Labour and Employment Kumar Belbase to put in his papers after it came to light that he had sought bribes for registering new foreign employment agencies.
A video in a sting operation showed Minister Belbase asking for bribe to register foreign employment agencies, on Friday.
“The PM has asked him to tender his resignation by 9:00 am tomorrow,” said Prashant Lamichhane, an assistant to the PM. “If he does not resign, he will be sacked,” Lamichhane said.
Minister Belbase is a politburo member of CPN (ML) led by CP Mainali.
The government had stopped registration of foreign employment agencies last September following reforms in the sector. The PM had formed a high level committee under Ganesh Gurung to suggest possible reforms in the sector.
The committee had suggested a 30-point reform package last November, which the Department of Foreign Employment is implementing gradually.
Applications of about 55 foreign employment agencies have been pending at the ministry for one year, said president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies Bal Bahadur Tamang. “Closure of registration for a long time led to the minister asking for bribe,” he said, adding that the government should open the registration process to stop such cases. Secretary of the association Subrana Shrestha said Belbase was reluctant to solve the problems of foreign employment agencies. “We asked him many times to reopen registration, but he did not listen,” she said. “His behaviour was suspicious.”
Belbase is the second minister who is being made to quit in a case involving graft. Earlier, the PM had sacked Sarita Giri over a bribery charge on March 23, 2012.
Meanwhile, CPN (ML) said Belbase’s resignation will depend on his discretion and the party will not in any way obstruct the process.