In 2010 it was involved in the conversion to machine-readable passports in Nepal in collaboration with France’s Oberthur Technologies.
Experts find it fishy that a blacklisted foreign company has such insider access to successive governments in Nepal that it wins one controversial contract after another. The passport project was also mired in allegations of kickbacks in high places.
The embossed number plate project has also been criticised because the letters and digits are in English and not Nepali when many countries in the region, including Bangladesh itself, have number plates with fonts of the country’s national language.
The DoTM deadline requires all vehicles in Gandaki and Bagmati provinces to switch to embossed plates or face a fine. There is an elaborate online process to fill the forms in English, and the process is said to be cumbersome, opening the possibility of further corruption and payoff to middlemen at DoTM offices.
Read also: Corruption deep rooted in government, Nepali Times