The Millennium Challenge Account-Nepal said Thursday its attention was drawn to a false document circulating on social networks regarding the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact.
A document bearing the forged signature of Khadga Bahadur Bisht, Executive Director of the MCA-Nepal Development Board, talks about a virtual meeting between MCC Vice-President Fatema Z Sumar, US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry and MCC Assistant Vice-President Jonathan Brooks.
The letter, dated August 20, 2021, also bears the stamp of the coat of arms of Nepal, MCA-Nepal and MCC.
The letter says the meeting had two suggestions: the US Embassy to meet with anti-MCC civil organizations and influential people; media and social networks should be enabled for MCC advertising; and a sustainable but low-key campaign should be launched to support the MCC with the help of selected think tanks, journalists, TV presenters and politicians, among others.
The document also claims that some newspapers, including the Post, should be approached for this purpose.
The letter began surfacing on social media on Wednesday, just before MCC headquarters sent out its clarifications on some of the concerns raised by the Nepalese government and on the eve of US officials’ visit to Nepal.
MCA-Nepal tweeted that the document was bogus and called for action against those who created and disseminated such a bogus document.
The document is, at first glance, false, however. He describes MCC as Millennium Challenge “Coperation”, instead of “Corporation”, with the incorrect spelling of “Cooperation”
“Our attention was drawn to a false document, circulating on Twitter, with the false signature of the executive director of MCA-Nepal. We condemn the baseless and misleading message contained in the document, ”MCA-Nepal said on Twitter. “We are taking initiatives with the authorities concerned to take action against this.”
Nepal joined the MCC in September 2017 and, as part of the agreement, the country is to receive $ 500 million in grants, which will be used to improve transmission lines and the road sector. However, the MCC Nepal Compact has been embroiled in the controversy, with political parties widely divided over its parliamentary ratification.
Misinformation about the MCC has even reached the local level, with arguments, such as its endorsement would undermine Nepal’s sovereignty and invite American soldiers.
In its 13-page response to concerns sent by Nepal on September 3, MCC headquarters provided specific clarifications on Wednesday.
Regarding the concern, if the MCC agreement is superior to the Nepalese Constitution, the MCC said “no”.
“The Constitution of Nepal takes precedence over the MCC Covenant,” MCC said in its response.
“Based on MCC’s experience in other countries, the status of a pact as an international agreement is essential to ensure that implementation can proceed without delay, which is particularly important given of a pact’s limited five-year implementation period, ”MCC said. “In practical terms, the status of an international agreement means that the implementation of compact projects will proceed in accordance with the laws of Nepal, except in the rare cases where local law conflicts with a specific provision of the compact. In such case, the compact projects will be implemented in accordance with the mutually agreed terms of the compact and the Constitution of Nepal.
In response to the concern whether Nepal is a member of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, MCC stated that the MCC Nepal Compact is not an agreement under it.
“MCC agreements are agreements between MCC and the partner government,” MCC said. “Any decision by Nepal regarding the Indo-Pacific strategy is separate and independent from the MCC Nepal Compact. “
MCC clarified that the Compact signed with Nepal is not an agreement within the framework of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. “The strong relationship between the United States and Nepal predates the Indo-Pacific strategy,” MCC responded.
On a key concern from Nepal regarding the basis of claims that Nepal is not a priority as part of a military strategy, the MCC said that the US law that governs the MCC prohibits the program from using funds to military purposes.
“The pact is explicit on this legal ban,” MCC said. “Therefore, there is no link between the MCC Nepal Compact and any military alliance or defense strategy. “
Sumar and Brooks arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday morning. They are expected to meet Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other politicians, including KP Sharma Oli, chairman of the main opposition party CPN-UML.