Nepal suspects over 50,000 passports forged in last 6-month

Nepal will tighten the passport distribution system as the authorities suspect that over 50,000 forged passports could have been issued in the last six months.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 21:44 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal will tighten the passport
distribution system as the authorities here suspect that over
50,000 forged passports could have been issued in the last six
months that might cause concern to India which shares an open
border with it, according to a report on Thursday.

The Office of Prime Minister and Council of Minister
have directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tighten and
regulate the passport distribution system at the earliest,
following suspicion that thousands of forged passports were
distributed in Nepal, the Republica daily reported.

The number of manual passport seekers had amazingly
increased after April 1 last year the time since the
government centralised distribution of passports from
Kathmandu, a top government official said.

As per a rough estimate more than 50,000 passports
could have been issued based on forged documents within the
period as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials did not
follow the proper citizenship verification mechanism before
issuing a passport, Republica reported quoting Secretary at
the Office of Prime Minister Lila Mani Paudyal.

"The MoFA officials briefed us that nearly 2,000 to
2,500 passports were issued each day over the period of six
months starting April. They informed us that earlier the total
number of passports issued each day from all the 75 District
Administration Offices (DAOs) ranged from 1,000 to 1,200,"
said Paudyal.

"Forged passports could have serious ramifications to
the country in future thus we have to investigate and regulate
passport distribution system," he said.

According to Poudyal, the document sent by Nepali
Embassy in Kuwait to OPMCM is enough to claim that thousands
of forged passports were issued in six months of period.

Nepal`s Embassy in Kuwait has sent the evidence of 34
forged passports recently, according to him. He found those
forged passports in a short period of investigation. All the
forged passports uncovered by Nepali Embassy in Kuwait were
issued within six months period.

Racketeers in various parts of the country are
involved in producing forged citizenship card which is
essential for passport and the government`s weak verification
mechanism for issuing passports, he said.

Nepal government has recently introduced Machine
Readable Passports for its citizens.

PTI