EC nominees testify before House panel

Kathmandu, October 27:

Two government nominees for the post of election commissioner today testified before the Parliamentary Special Hearing Committee.

Defending the charges made against her, Usha Nepal, a former Chief District Officer, told the committee that she had never issued a Nepali citizenship to a foreign national.

“Knowingly, I have never issued Nepali citizenship to a foreign national; had I done so, I would have acquired the position (election commissioner) two years ago,” said Nepal.

She said that the palace was annoyed with her because she had refused to issue citizenship certificate to a foreign national of Indian origin.

She said if she had ever issued a citizenship to a foreign national “the issue should be challenged at a proper place.” She also denied the charge that she had lied about her age.

However, she agreed that her age is different in her citizenship and the SLC certificate.

“When age records are different in the citizenship and SLC certificate, the age mentioned in the certificate becomes legal according to the law, so I never lied my age to acquire any position,” she said.

The MPs had asked her to clarify the charges made against her. They agreed to investigate her case further before reaching any conclusion and providing details to the government.

On the charge that she was close to the Nepali Congress, she said that she was a professional bureaucrat and that she was not affiliated to any political party.

Nil Kantha Upreti, who has also been proposed as an election commissioner, told the committee that he had an experience of working in Afghanistan in the post-conflict period in the field of election management.

“Although Nepal’s situation is different from that of Afghanistan and all the experiences of that country cannot be translated here, I can still use my expertise for conducting constituent assembly polls here,” Upreti said.

He also denied the charges that he was close to the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. The committee would take a decision on them next week after further discussions.