Gambian Company holds ‘valid contract’ for ID Cards

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pristine Consulting, a Microsoft Certified Gambian biometrics company has maintained that they hold a valid contract for the production of ID Cards that has not been terminated by the government.

“Pristine Consulting has a valid contract for the production of ID Cards and eBirth Certificates,” company CEO, Draman Touray, told The Point in an email statement on Monday. He added: “Pristine is prepared to continue to deliver services in accordance with its contractual obligations.”

Last week, the minister of Justice announced that the government finally agreed to restore, rather than award, the national identity productions contract to Belgian biometrics company, Semlex.

However, this seems to contradict an earlier communication from the same government through the Ministry of Finance when it asked that Pristine submits proposal for the contract. In November 2017, Pristine CEO said they received a communication requesting them to submit a proposal. This was signed by the minister of Finance.

That communication stated that due to non-compliance with the country’s procurement laws relating to the purported contracts for the production of national documents, the government has arrived at the conclusion to initiate a new tender process to award the contract to “the most responsive bidder”.

“Pristine complied with the request for proposal and duly submitted its bid. It is instructive to learn through the minister’s statement that Semlex, the other bidder in the process, declined to comply with the request and instead of being disqualified, were in fact rewarded with a re-instatement of their contract, which had been terminated in 2016,” Touray said.

Touray’s statement came in response to the press statement issued by the attorney general on February 14th, 2018, announcing that Semlex could go ahead with the implementation of the ID Cards contract. 

Tambedou also stated that the inter-ministerial task force constituted to review and advise the government “is not prepared to put that added responsibility on this government just to satisfy the business interests of a few even if they are Gambians.”

“The implementation of the agreement has been delayed for various reasons independent from Semlex, which are mainly due to the past presidential elections and the set-up of a new Gambian government,” said Ralph Hajjar, Sales manager and Commercial director of Semlex Group.

Tambedou, in the meantime, maintained that the Taskforce had to consider two options: (a) proceed with the bidding process and potentially award the contract to Pristine and then face international arbitration proceedings with all the attendant legal and financial costs and in full knowledge that our position is weak.

Or, (b) cancel the bidding process and recognize and restore the June 2016 Contract with Semlex with no legal consequences for the cancellation of the bidding process.”

Author: Sanna Camara