Ex-MPs yet to return red passports

KATHMANDU: More than 40 per cent of 522 former parliamentarians, who had procured diplomatic passports, are yet to return the document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 10 days after expiry of the deadline set by National Vigilance Centre to do so.

NVC, an-anti-corruption body, had sent circulars to the Parliament Secretariat and MoFA on returning diplomatic passports within a week of the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.

“Till now, we have received diplomatic passports from 291 former CA members, who had procured the document in the capacity of parliamentarians,” said Yadav Khanal, acting chief of the Passport Division at MoFA.

The Passport Division has maintained secrecy over the names of former parliamentarians who submitted the document and who did not. A senior MoFA officer, however, told THT that it would make public the names of all those who don’t submit their passports within a couple of weeks.

The NVC circular mentions that the red passport can be misused to procure easy visas to go abroad. Earlier six CA members were convicted of misusing their red passports for money.

Senior leaders of major political parties — former CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala — have submitted their red passports. Though he was not a member of the CA, Koirala had received red passport in the capacity of the leader of opposition. The government also provides red passports to former prime ministers though they are no longer parliamentarians.

Incumbent ministers, secretaries, members of the constitutional bodies, however, can keep the document till they hold the post.

“Some of former CA members may not submit the passports because of expiry of their validity,” the MoFA officer told THT.
Hypocrisy
Kathmandu: Cancelling her diplomatic passport, Usha Kala Rai, a former CA member from CPN-UML on Thursday applied for an ordinary passport. “Since I am no longer a CA member, I returned the privileged document provided by the government,” she told THT. Ironically, she was flying to Bangladesh to attend a conclave of South Asian Women Parliamentarians in the capacity of a Nepali member of Parliament!

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