Mahat admits to shortcomings in envoys’ nomination

Kathmandu, March 4

Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat today admitted to shortcomings in the process of nominating envoys to various countries.

He said the government chose 14 names for ambassadorial berths initially, but later the Ministry of Foreign Affairs corrected the list by sending only 12 names to the Cabinet.

“After getting information about two of the proposed envoys, I decided to withdraw their names,” Mahat told mediapersons upon his return from Geneva today. “But later, I came to know that only one of these two names was withdrawn by the Cabinet.”

Before flying to Geneva to attend a UN Human Rights Council meeting last week, Mahat had removed the names of Sharmila Parajuli and Aasha Lama, who were recommended as ambassadors to Oman and UAE respectively. Dhakal was picked on Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democrati’s quota, while Lama was chosen on the recommendation of the Nepali Congress.

Sources said both Parajuli and Lama were engaged in recruitment agencies that outsourced Nepali workers to other countries, including Oman and UAE, and those agencies faced charges of cheating and swindling poor workers.

Despite the foreign minister’s ‘correction’, the Cabinet later withdrew Lama’s name, but retained Dhakal as envoy to Oman following pressure from MJF-D’s Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.

Mahat, however, refused to comment on the Cabinet decision, which was made while he was in Geneva, Switzerland, where he had attended the 34th session of UN Human Rights Council and lobbied for Nepal’s bid for membership in the UN rights wing for 2018-20.