"But, the stakeholders have questioned the legality of the fund established by the government.... 'This is like depositing the government money in the private account by the minister' one of the finance ministry official said."
Eyes on Money
Nepal Magazine, 3-14 March 2010
By Upendra Pokhrel
Translated from Nepali
On Feb 10th, German Embassy declared the closure of adoption from Nepal by informing various diplomatic missions in Nepal. Following this American Embassy also issued a public notice to be cautious stating that the inter-country adoption process in Nepal is not reliable. The only basis that these two countries questioned the adoption process in Nepal is the report of the organization named ‘The Hague Conference on Private International Law’. In the report it is mentioned that Nepal is not ready for inter-country adoption and the present ongoing process should be stopped.
The adoption process was started again after one year closure and in less than nine months that report again questioned the inter-country adoption of Nepal. Even in this situation the Ministry of Women, Children and is doing whatever they like. The last example of this is the Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 and Child Right Fund developed by the ministry.
According to the legal branch of the ministry in the year 2010, fifty six international agencies through agreement have submitted 10,000 USD each in the Child Right Fund for adoption. That means, approximately 40 million (rupees) have been already deposited in the fund. Around 80 international agencies are listed in the ministry in the year 09/10. If the listed agencies renew their agreement around 60 million rupees will be deposited in the fund each year. Before the legal system of the year 08/09 (2065 BS), two thousand two hundred forty seven (2247) and after that twenty Nepali children have reached different countries around the globe.
The ministry claimed that according to the terms and conditions of 08/09 (2065 BS) on adoption, based on the article 11, a new procedure has been developed. But that article says nothing except that the listed agency should renew. The surprise is that on the basis of the same article the ministry formed another Child Right Fund and had started collecting money. The rule of the ministry says that the foreign agency should deposit 10,000 USD every year when they sign the memorandum of understanding. The ministry also has rule to sign MOU with Child NGO Federation (CNFN) and the child right fund management committee which is formed under the presidentship of the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare and the CNFN president is assigned as member secretary. However, the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) in not included in the five-member committee.
On January 28, 2010, The Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 has been issued by ministry level decision. According to the same procedure, a child right fund was also formed. The provision has been made that the agencies which are listed in the adoption process should deposit at least 10,000 USD each year in the fund, before this it was going to the concerned children home. But, the stakeholders have questioned the legality of the fund established by the government.
‘This fund is not valid’ one of the officers from the ministry said, ‘new source for the revenue was identified but the minister deposited the amount in the account of NGOs.’ According to the provision of economical procedure 98/99 (2055 BS), if new source for revenue is identified and its title is not clear then it should be deposited in the government fund by mentioning the source. Like agencies, the foreign families who wish to adopt pay 3,000 USD to the government and this amount is also deposited to the revenue fund under ‘common’ title. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare did not take the initiation to identify the title that’s why it is deposited in the same title.
Similarly, according to the adoption terms and conditions published in the Nepal ‘Rajpatra’ on 18 May 2008 the money which is collected should be submitted in the government account, from that amount there is a rule that the fund will be invested for the welfare program of the orphaned children and also for the monitoring of listed foreign agencies for adoption and domestic child homes. Also, it is clearly mentioned that the children who went abroad on the name of adoption, for their monitoring also the money will be spend from the same fund. Not only this, there is an option that the money can be deposited to child welfare committee fund under the ministry involved in the adoption. First, there is the option to deposit the amount in the account of finance ministry, secondly in the committee’s fund and if not there in the account of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. One of the committee official said ‘due to this it’s hard to understand the internal motive behind establishing the fund’. According to the source the officials also suggested to keep that amount in the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) but the committee member-secretary Dharmraj Shrestha do not want to give any reaction regarding the work of the Ministry. ‘Let’s not speak anything on this’ he said. According to the source from finance ministry, the amount which is deposited in the fund and not in the law need not to be audited and also withdrawal permission is not needed. ‘This is like depositing the government money in the private account by the minister’ one of the finance ministry official said.
On the other side even it is not mentioned in the provision regarding children that how much amount should be taken for each adoption and by each agency. The terms and conditions passed by the council of ministers only uses words like ‘will be charged’ and ‘can be charged’.
The undersecretary of the legal branch of the Ministry, Mr. Sher Singh Karki, said that before this the foreign agencies were giving the money to the children home without transparency so to make it transparent new procedure and child right fund was formed. Before, there was a directive from the Ministry that the concerned agency should pay minimum 10,000 USD to the children home directly. In the process of monitoring the children home, it was found that the money was not used for the betterment of children but the betterment of the operator of the homes, that’s why new provision was made, Karki said.
He said, to make the big amount manageable and transparent new procedure and fund is established but due to complexities of depositing the amount in government fund the private sector fund has been given to the private sector. He himself is not satisfied of the proper use of the fund. ‘If the people with good intention will come then it will be used for good’ he said.
The Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 has divided the amount received by the agencies. According to that 20% of the fund is separated for the program of the ministry but which kind of program, it is not mentioned. Similarly, 15% for the central child welfare board and for the district child welfare board of all the 75 districts, 10% for the children who are in the children home and 20% for the monitoring, evaluation and supervision. For study, research, training, and advocacy and for the human resource development 20% and for the administrative expenses of the operational committee 5% have been allocated.
Everyone is unknown about the amount which used to be deposited in the account of children home before it was shifted from the Home Ministry to Women, Children and Social Welfare Ministry. In that account for the monitoring, evaluation and supervision, 300 USD used to be deposited for each child. Even after it was shifted to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, there is no any transparency on the expenses. The truth is that the amount given by the foreign family is invested in the abroad travel expenses of the minister, secretaries and their families. But, as Karki said, the ministry does not have any details on that.
According to Ganesh Bhakta Shrestha, associated with one of the children home run by NGO named OCCED, for every child the foreign family pays 3,000 USD to the government and 5,000 USD to the children home, but the government is not able to justify the cause. The decision from the ministry level to deposit 10,000 USD in the Child Right Fund is also in moving sand. ‘Whatever rule is made, but first its significance should be justified’ Shrestha said.
Box: Discussion Continues
On Falgun 14, the Federation of non governmental organizations for children (CNFN) published a notice that the membership of 36 organizations had been cancelled. An organisation called ' The Hague Conference on Private International Law' of Netherlands had given suggestion to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in its report to ban CNFN from inter-country adoption investigation, monitoring and recommendation committee.
On the basis of that report, CNFN cancelled the membership of its child care homes. Showing their anger, the child care homes have said that CNFN won't be able to exclude us. There's blame from child care homes that the officers of CNFN are also indirectly associated with intercountry adoption process.
The director of OCCED Nepal, a children’s home, said that the report has indirectly told to ban CNFN from intercountry adoption investigation, monitoring and recommendation committee, not the child centers: 'How can CNFN be out of the Committee by excluding child centers?'
The child care homes have been demanding to ban CNFN from the committee. With the anger of being excluded by CNFN, the child center homes have been actively working to come up with new association of organizations working actively for the reintegration of children. The new association's strategy will be the reintegration of children within the country.' The blame of intercountry adoption issues and adoption has been only on the child centers, now we will work actively for re-integration within the country''. Shrestha says ''there has been priority for foreign countries, now our priority will be within the country."
Source: Nepal Magazine, 3-14 March 2010
Translated by: Mr. Nisith Kumar Shrivastawa
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.