The Government of Nepal has decided to withdraw handful of facilities and privileges being enjoyed by the Honorary Consular Corps (HCC) of various countries based in Nepal.
HCC is the club of Honorary Consul Generals and Consular Corps deputed to Nepal by various countries to assist in bilateral activities as those countries do not have residential embassies in Kathmandu.
Releasing a press statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that the privilege of using blue plate and the flag in official vehicle of the honorary consuls in Nepal has been suspended with immediate effect until further notice.
This decision came out just a day after Honorary Consul of Republic of Kyrgyzstan in Nepal Sulav Agrawal was found to have misused the blue-plate vehicle being provided by the ministry as a special privilege.
“In the context of the incident in which an Honorary Consul was found to have engaged in illegal activity misusing his position and privilege granted for his official function, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to withdraw certain facilities and privileges provided to the Honorary Consuls based in Nepal,” read a the press statement.
HCC have been enjoying various privileges since June 19, 2007. The then prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala-led government had decided to provide such diplomatic privileges to HCC to carry out their work effectively, without problems.
Prior to that, the HCC deputed to Nepal would use private (red on white) plates on their vehicles.
Kathmandu based HCC are using various privileges including blue plate vehicle numbers with flags, free access to enter Singh Durbar, privilege of using VIP lounge at the Tribhuvan International Airport and many more.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry in its press statement also said that Honorary Consul of Kyrgyzstan in Nepal Sulav Agrawal’s privileges had been withdrawn as he was arrested red-handed by police on the charge of black marketing thermometers. And also confiscated 66 units of thermal scanner from his possession in a vehicle with special registration (blue-plate) number 209-HCC-1 provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the recommendation of the government decision.
Sulav is a high-profile industrialist and he is one of the family members of Shankar Group- a big business house of Nepal. According to police, HCC member and entrepreneur Agrawal is now in custody fir the further investigation.
The MoFA also said that the Krygyz government has been reported about the incident.
According to the MoFA, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam have appointed Honorary Consul, General or Consul in Nepal.
However, the official at the ministry has cast doubt on the current MoFA decision as it said “for until further notice only.” It could be opened any time if there comes any unbearable influence personal interest.
According to the Vienna Convention, the Honorary Consul would be appointed on the basis of well-known figure of the society who has contributed lots from his sector. But, in Nepal, almost all HCC are business people only and most of them are not known by the Nepali society.