Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s IT consultant, Asgar Ali has been executing “illegal business” ranging from collecting information illegally to hacking news portals, all done taking advantage of the closeness to the ailing PM, says a report.
Kharbarhub.com, citing security sources, said activities like data hoarding by people like Ali may compromise individual privacy for monetary gains and an “authoritarian regime” could misuse it for mass surveillance.
“Ali’s company has used the same server and the same IP from the PM’s office to banks and other organizations while grabbing most of the IT contracts of the government,” the report said. Citing sources, the report also stated that most of Ali’s companies are involved in the contract of more than Rs 20 billion besides involvement in illegal transactions with alien forces, mainly China, to capture the digital domain.
“Ali, most likely, has some connection with the Chinese and the controversial Huawei Company,” the source was quoted as saying.
The report said Ali’s trade and business soared to a new height immediately after he was appointed PM Oli’s IT consultant.
A senior army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such activities, including China’s covert involvement, endanger national security.
As per the report, Ali has been making covert-China backed initiation to introduce 5G service in Nepal to provide “steering to Huawei company in an effort to control Nepal’s communication system”.
He was also found stealing information from government portal illegally and for his personal benefit in 2016, as the CEO of e-SEWA, an online payment gateway which was found involved in the illegal promotion of Bitcoin transaction, the transaction Nepal Rastra Bank regarded illegal.
Ali managed to get redemption from it influencing Nepal Rastra Bank using his closeness to the Prime Minister, according to the report.
“Thus, evidence hint(s) at the fact that Asgar Ali is being offered amnesty deliberately diverting the issue and excusing allegations,” the report said, adding that Nepali Army sources hint at the Chinese government’s direct involvement in the activities that Ali has been carrying out in Nepal.
As per the report, he also pressurised several key departments seeking data and other information.
Citing security sources, the report said Ali also took to “intimidating the chiefs of the Passport Department, Labor Department, Transport Department (including information of driving licenses), National Identity Card Management Center, Immigration Department and other government bodies seeking all data and other information”.
“Furthermore, he is also learned to have pressurized the authorities seeking details of the voters from the Election Commission, citizenship details from the Home Ministry, information from the Foreign Employment Department, the Central Registration Department, the National Identity Card Management Center, and other details from the departments under the Ministry of Communication and Information,” the report said.
As per the report, even after the National Vigilance Center had written to the office of Prime Minister acting based on a complaint, no action was taken against him.
Ali’s action has been an abuse of authority and citizen’s rights, said high-level sources.
According to the report, 22 out of the 27 commercial banks use software made by Ali’s company. The reported quoted bankers as saying that they have given the responsibility of data hosting and collecting of customers’ details to Ali’s company because of which customers are worried about their privacy.
As per a digital probe, ‘F1Soft International Pvt Ltd’s official website www.flsoft.com and other apps under it such as eSewa and Fonepay are hosted on the same server as that of used for hosting the website of Prime Minister Oli’s erstwhile party, the CPN-UML (cpnuml.org) and PM Oli’s official website kpsharmaoli.com.np. The websites F1soft.com and cpnuml.org use Cloudfare to mask their IPs, the report said citing sources.’
According to Nepali Army sources, in a country like Nepal where internet penetration is only 60 per cent coupled with limited digital literacy and lack of data security, such activity can pose a serious challenge.
The data hoarding by “unscrupulous people” like Ali may compromise individual privacy for monetary gains and the authoritarian regime could misuse it for mass surveillance.
“Ali’s company E-Sewa is noticed to be carrying out an illegal transaction of foreign currency via Skrill, a London-based multi-national digital remittance company established in 2001,” said the report.
The report highlighted that as per the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, e-Sewa is involved in misappropriation of foreign currency by carrying out the service via crypto-currency that also without taking prior consent from Nepal Rastra Bank.
 
 
(ANI)
 
 

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