Appellate court clears way for NTB chief appointment

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 6, 2015-

The Patan Appellate Court has cleared the way for the board of directors of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) to proceed ahead with its plan to appoint a new chief under the old process.

On June 10, the NTB had invited fresh applications for the position of CEO. The board also simultaneously continued the old process, under which it had shortlisted 12 applicants in the first week of November 2011.

Five days after the fresh application, four shortlisted applicants—Narayan Krishna Pradhan, Raghu Bista, Gyanendra Ratna Tuladhar and Bishnu Prasad GC—had filed a writ at the court against the NTB board and the Tourism Ministry, seeking an annulment of the new process.

Last week, the court issued a decision in favour of the petitioner and directed the NTB board and the ministry to begin the CEO appointment process as per the NTB Act, 2053 (1997).

The NTB board had invited fresh applications to give an opportunity to fresh candidates too stating there were a number of hopefuls in the market. However, the old applicants argued inviting fresh applications was not legal as the process had reached its final stages.

Newly-appointed Tourism Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, who also chairs the NTB board, said necessary process would be initiated based on the court’s order. “As there have been a number of court cases regarding the CEO appointment, we need to move ahead carefully so the mistake is not repeated.”

Sources said the appointment process is likely to be more complicated as the fresh applicants could also file writs at the Supreme Court against the appellate court orders.

NTB has been stumbling along without a head since October 31, 2011 when the then CEO Prachanda Man Shrestha’s tenure expired. Due to a dispute among private sector representatives, the NTB has suffered several setbacks in its efforts to appoint a new boss.

The processes to appoint the new chief at the board moved forward after the Tourism Ministry amended its CEO selection procedure. Under the amended procedure, Mohan Krishan Sapkota, joint secretary at the ministry, has been named the new member of the three-member CEO selection sub-committee.

The CEO selection sub-committee is led by Ghanendra Shrestha, a board member representing the private sector and includes Rajendra Sapkota who is another

board member from the private sector.

Under the NTB Act and Regulation, a three-member sub-committee should be formed from among the five members representing the private sector on the board to appoint the CEO.

The NTB’s 11-member board consists of five representatives each from the government and the private sector besides the CEO.

In the first week of November 2011, the three-member sub-committee had shortlisted 12 candidates. However, the process stalled after the terms of three of the five board members—Ganesh Simkhada, Nimi Sherpa and Agni Kadel—expired on November 30, 2011.

Since then, the process has been constantly disrupted by complaints filed at the Supreme Court against the appointment process.

In April, the selection of a CEO became even more complicated after the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority filed charges at the Special Court against 23 NTB employees, including sitting board members, on charge of being involved in financial irregularities.

According to the NTB Act, a prospective CEO should have 10 years’ experience in the tourism sector and have at least a Master’s degree.

Published: 06-09-2015 08:28

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