Sep 16, 2017

President’s recommendations ignored in e-passport project Featured

A secret move is afoot to mislead the president and the cabinet and handover a contract to print the e-passport to a company with a majority British stake, ‘Sathhanda’ reports.

Several top government figures are trying to get this contract for De La Rue Lanka Currency and Security Print.

It will cost only Rs. 700 – 800 m

The state will incur a loss of Rs. two billion from this, as De La Rue has estimates the printing cost at Rs. three billion, although State Printing Corporation sources say only between Rs. 700 million and Rs. 800 million will be needed for a best quality print.

Local company Epic Lanka, which previously printed passports, agrees.

However, attempts are underway to auction the contract under the Swiss Challenge method and hand it over to the British company.

The treasury owns 40 per cent preference shares of this company.

In 2015, the Moratuwa University presented a technical framework for the e-passport.

ICTA proposal & president’s recommendations

As the Immigration and Emigration Department was making arrangements for it, the ICTA and the Telecommunications Ministry intervened and took over the project.

A cabinet paper was submitted in March 2017 for the e-passport, based on an ICTA proposal that De La Rue should be given the printing contact.

However, cabinet approval was not given due to various shortcomings, and the president included his own recommendations.

These recommendations are now being ignored.