Minister likely to sack NEA chiefManaging Director Mukesh Raj Kafle of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) faces an uncertain future as newly appointed Energy Minister Janardan Sharma has been reportedly preparing to sack him on grounds of ‘incompetence’.
Managing Director Mukesh Raj Kafle of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) faces an uncertain future as newly appointed Energy Minister Janardan Sharma has been reportedly preparing to sack him on grounds of ‘incompetence’.
Sources told the Post that Minister Sharma had directed ministry officials to prepare a proposal to terminate the NEA chief’s job and send it to the Cabinet.
“The proposal is ready and Minister Sharma will present it during the next Cabinet meeting,” said an official of the Energy Ministry. “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the next Cabinet meeting will fire Kafle.”
Minister Sharma had initially summoned Kafle to the ministry and asked him to resign, but the NEA chief refused to step down arguing that he had been appointed
through free competition and the minister had no right to demand his resignation. “Yes, the minister asked me to help him by quitting,” Kafle told the Post. “I said I would not comply with this unlawful demand and challenged him to take the matter to the Cabinet.”
The process of removing Kafle began two months ago when a panel formed to appraise his performance gave him failing grades.
According to the performance agreement signed between the Energy Ministry and Kafle, he has to score at least 50 percent or the panel can recommend to the ministry to take any action against him including dismissal.
“The NEA chief scored 45 percent in the evaluation,” said a ministry official who sat on the panel. “However, in the performance contract, there is space for another panel to review the evaluation done by the first panel. Kafle failed to secure pass marks in the second panel’s evaluation too.”
On July 3, the Energy Ministry had written to Kafle asking for a clarification and demanding a reason why he shouldn’t be dismissed.
Kafle replied to the ministry’s letter on July 8 saying that there was conflict of interest during the review process, and that the panel which had reviewed his performance was not independent, according to a ministry source.
Meanwhile, Kafle has filed an application with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) requesting that his performance be reviewed by an independent panel. The panel’s report has been kept confidential.
According to a source at the Energy Ministry, the minister has been trying to push out Kafle citing incompetence so that he can appoint his own man to the post. “Minister Sharma wants to fill key positions in the ministry and the NEA with his yes-men,” said the source.