At the next Cabinet meeting the proposal for the handing over of the contract is expected to be approved. It is reported that plans have already been made for the signing of an agreement with De La Rue under the Private Public Partnership and Cabinet approval would be obtained.
Already, 60% of the country’s money printing is also being done by the De La Rue PLC company, while the balance 40% is owned by the government.
It has already been revealed that the said company does not possess the technology or approval for the printing of passports.
This is due to them having sold their Identity Solutions Business to an American company which has come under criticism by the immigration Emigration experts, who claim it is a threat to national security.
According to British sources, the De La Rue company is currently financially unstable and have lost the contract to print British Passports.
However, the standard of Sri Lankan passports is said to be at a lower standard than the those of other countries and as a result Sri Lankans using them have to face numerous issues while traveling.
Currently the trend is e-passports
Previously the passports were being printed by a company known as Epic Lanka which had also violated tender procedures.
According to the regular tender procedure, once a tender is awarded the re-order value is generally 50%. However, Epic had violated the tender procedures and gone for a re-order value of 200%, it is reported.
However, Sri Lanka Mirror learns that Epic is also staging a massive fight to prevent a new company engaging with corrupt officials and getting the tender for the printing of passports.
Character of Number Plate producers
Meanwhile, the contract for the printing of number plates has been obtained by Access and Sri Lanka Mirror very reliably learns that they are trying to include the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) security system and the printing of number plates under two agreements.
This is a violation of tender rules. The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip should be included in the number plate as a sticker and it should be done no sooner the issuing of number plates is done.
With the connivance of several higher-ups of the Motor Traffic Department, Access had their contract extended by another six months from May 01, 2019 and it is a violation of the tender regulations to sign two contracts for two processes of the same tender.
The tender was awarded for the supply of number plates inclusive of the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and only one agreement could be signed.
Previously it was reported in the media that several of the Motor Traffic Department officials had taken bribes to extend the contract awarded to the private sector. It was also revealed that while the contract is generally for a period of four years, they had fraudulently extended it to 15 years.
Suraweera ready for another scam!
Meanwhile, one of the most corrupt officials of the Motor Traffic Department, the Commissioner of Information and Communication Thushara Suraweera who was entrusted the tender for the production of driving licenses, is said to be engaged in producing driving licenses by himself without the assistance of the Technical Committee members’ assistance.
He is said to be handling the tender himself in order to sponsor one party.
The previously called tender had to be cancelled, as information had surfaced that some corrupt officials were preparing to hand the tender over to Metropolitan for a higher rate in order to obtain higher kickbacks.
Currently, the driving license production is done by Metropolitan.
However, the obtained personal data bank of the people has so far not been given to the Motor Traffic Commissioner’s Office as agreed and neither have they provided the Driving License Data Readers so far as agreed.
Metropolitan has been awarded the Driving License tender since 2007 under the build operate transfer tender procedure. Accordingly, they are required to provide the personal data bank information to the Motor Traffic Commissioner.
It is also alleged that the driving licenses being produced by Metropolitan is of low quality and has the tendency to brake in half.
According to the Motor Traffic Department sources, the number of complaints regarding the damage of the licenses is increasing by the day.
It is also doubtful if the chip on the license records the data. Although Metropolitan was supposed to provide the Driving License Data Readers to the Motor Traffic Department and the police stations, so far they have failed to do so.