gossip lanka

Issuing of electronic passports sans tender, on who’s order?

Cabinet approval has been granted for a proposal presented by Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando to award the contract to supply the proposed digital passports to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd without calling for any tender.

According to government internal sources, the contract worth Rs.
1.2 billion has been handed over to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd without calling for tenders raises suspicion that a certain financial irregularity could be behind this deal.

These sources said that at the time the tenders were called, De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd had not presented a tender for the supply of digital passports.

While others had bid lower:

Meanwhile, according to a report issued by the Government Printing Department, the printing of the digital passports could be done at a cost of Rs. 600 million, but disregarding this proposal Cabinet approval had been granted to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd the contract to print the digital passports, which is questionable.

On a previous occasion when Cabinet approval was sought to grant the contract to print the digital passports to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd, the President in his observations had pointed out that instead of giving the contract to a single company, tenders should be called in a competitive bidding process.

 Disregarding the President’s observations:

 However, despite the President’s advice, several government members had pursued their endeavour to grant the contract to this company, and as a result an MoU was signed with ICTA and De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd on June 13, 2017, to implement the process of preparing the electronic passports and study the technical requirements.

Later, disregarding the President’s observations and Cabinet decision the MoU was signed and on August 09, 2017, a joint Cabinet paper no. 17/2522/749/022 was presented to the Cabinet by the Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando and Minister S.B. Navinna who is the subject Minister for the Immigration and Emigration Department.

 According to the “Swiss Challenge” system:

However at the time the Cabinet advice was to launch the project according to the “Swiss Challenge” system instead of giving the contract to a single company.

According to reports, however, De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd had not been agreeable to this proposal.

Further it is also reported that the British High Commissioner too had notified several government bigwigs to grant the contact to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd.

Therefore the Cabinet paper no. 17/2522/749/022 was presented by Minister Harin Fernando on November 02 and accordingly, it was requested to amend the recommendations of the Cabinet paper presented on August 09, 2017 to grant the contract without calling for tenders, government internal sources revealed.

 Danger of British share ownership:

However, these sources pointed out the De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd is a British shareholding company and the eminent danger in exposing the whole process to an entirely private company.

Further, there is also a situation where, by granting this contract to this company, over 400 employees that were recruited to the newly established passport office unit of the Immigration and Emigration Department, could lose their jobs.

Meanwhile the Immigration and Emigration Department Unions have also expressed objections to this process and threaten severe trade union action in the event the government disregards their objections and decides to proceed with the plan to grant the contract to De La Rue Lanka Currency & Security Print (Pvt.) Ltd.


more>>>
http://www.srilankamirror.com/news/6201-issuing-of-electronic-passports-sans-tender-on-who-s-order