Government has indicated that local contractors will be given priority in awarding of a contract to print passports in the country.
Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said this at a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday when he and Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda briefed journalists on government’s position following termination of an e-passport contract with Techno Brain.
The AG observed that the country has a lot of information technology (IT) experts who can deliver on the job, saying the process of printing passports is not too complicated.
Said Nyirenda: “Previously, most of bidders were companies that deal in military hardware, medicine and not even ICT. That is why this time around priority is going to Malawians and identifying an international contractor will be a last resort.”
He also pointed out that, to date, government paid at least $8.6 million to Techno Brain from proceeds realised from the sale of the travel documents.
Initially, Techno Brain was demanding to be paid from government Account Number One, but the AG said this was not done.
He said: “The contract was signed by mistake and the contactor also breached terms of the contract and therefore government of Malawi is not supposed to pay anything. Government will be protected by the law.”
On his part, Chimwendo Banda said the country has the most expensive passport fees in the Southern African Development Community region, hence going forward government will re-look the fees that Malawians pay to acquire a passport guided by cost of production.