Queries over e-passport tender

A proud owner displays her passport. The e-passport project is expected to run on a trial basis from July 1, in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

What you need to know:

  • Ministry says procurement strictly guided by existing laws and regulations.
  • Officials directly award the Sh1.5bn e-passport tender to two companies raising fears that money could be lost.

Controversy is brewing in the President’s Office over a Sh1.5 billion e-passport tender after officials directly engaged British firm De La Rue and Pakistani government agency Nadra to do the work.

Questions are now being raised if the taxpayer will get value for money.

The projected budget to buy the e-passport booklets and production software is likely to shoot up from Sh1.5 billion in the first year to Sh5 billion in the third year.

On Saturday, the President’s Office denied that it was done outside the public procurement law by directly engaging the two organisations.

The Interior Ministry’s communication adviser, Mr Mwenda Njoka said that adherence to these “stringent procurement rules applies for e-passports”.


A UK security printing company with a plant in Nairobi, De La Rue, which also prints Kenyan currency, will manufacture the 145,000 booklets.

Nadra (the National Database and Registration Authority), an independent and autonomous agency of the Pakistani Ministry of Interior, will develop the software.

The trial run begins from July 1, and officially get underway on November 1.

Outgoing Interior Permanent Secretary Monica Juma signed the memos appointing a 10-member committee consisting of Mr JP Munywoki (chair), Ms Evelyn Cheluget, Mr Kennedy Okondo, Mr Jacob Thuranira, Mr Peter Kimaile, Mr Kennedy Odhiambo, Mr JK Chetelam, Mr James Gekobe, Mr George Njane and Ms Catherine Iringu, to oversee the process.

“The contracts between the committee and the firm shall be official and business shall be conducted as convened,” said Dr Juma, who has since been nominated to the position of Secretary to the Cabinet.

Kenya first proposed that trials be conducted at three sites in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and in Nairobi for three months before the contract is signed.

The Nairobi Central Server will be the main place for all the sites. The Nadra team head Schargyar A. Khan has members Shaffig Abdalla, Kashif Igbal and Zulfiqan Ali.

The three-month trial on four sites will cost $174,756 (Sh16.6 million).

The Kenyan team had pitched for only three sites, excluding the central server, but Nadra maintained the Nairobi Central Server System was different from Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.