PM in bid to override PAC fiatOn January 15, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee instructed the Ministry of Home Affairs to stop further process of selecting firm to award contract for the National Identity Card Project.
On January 15, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee instructed the Ministry of Home Affairs to stop further process of selecting firm to award contract for the National Identity Card Project.
The PAC had issued instructions, saying that it was probing into the alleged irregularities while selecting the firm to prepare the national ID because the National Identity Card Management Centre, under the aegis of MoHA,
“had selected the France-based Morpho Safran for preparing 110,000 IDs at the cost of $8 million”.
But in what is seen as a clear violation of principle of separation of powers, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has decided to override the PAC directives.
Going against the PAC’s directives, PM Oli last week summoned Home Minister Shakti Basnet and Home Secretary Narayan Gopal Malego and instructed them to carry on with the project, telling them that his “authority as the prime minister superseded that of the parliamentary committee”, a highly placed government source said.
When asked, Home Secretary Malego insisted that the project remained stalled but stopped short of divulging details of his meeting with PM Oli.
“The prime minister believes that the national ID project should continue,” said Bishnu Rimal, chief political adviser to PM Oli. “He is against attempts to delay and derail such an important project.”
After PM Oli’s instructions, Ramhari Khatiwada, chairman of a PAC sub-committee formed to investigate into the matter, issued another instruction to MoHA
on Monday, asking it to halt all the process until the probe is over. Dinesh Bhattarai, chief of the National ID Management Centre, said that the process has been put on hold to open bidding.
The PAC started its probe after complaints of “policy level corruption”. The House committee had said only one firm was selected without giving any fair chance to other bidders.