MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has been reliably informed that the company hired by the government of Liberia to print national biometric ID cards has halted the printing process in demand of payment from the government. The amount in question is a little over a million United States dollars.
When contacted, Mr. Tiah Nagbe, Executive Director of the National Identification Registry confirmed the Registry’s financial obligations to the contractor and also confirmed that the NIR is not enrolling people currently.
He said the current situation is not squarely financial problems.
Mr. Tiah: “We have arrears for the company and other groups providing services. Right now, we are not enrolling new people because of the current situation and we are hoping it will be resolved in the next couple of days.
“The situation is more complicated. What I can say is that the National ID system is temporarily not operating at its full capacity but there are some operations we are still undertaking. We are doing a certain type of enrolment in the rural areas for farmers.
“There are some things we are doing and some we are not doing. National ID includes enrollment, the printing of cards, and verification. There are some things that function and some not functioning and it is due to some technical issues that we have.”
He promised that the board of Registry and senior officials of government are concerned about the situation and are making efforts to address the situation. “The situation is technical because it is beyond financial. It is a complicated situation that has some financial elements,” he added.
A source close to leadership at the NIR described the situation as embarrassing. “The amount is over a million dollars, our source said.”
According to information gathered, the company, Technobrain, that has the contract for the national ID had stopped producing cards until they get paid by the Government of Liberia (GOL).
FrontPageAfrica has also learned that people who have in recent days gone to the NIR for ID card taking are being turned away.
This is happing in a period when the country is still uncertain about whether or not to do biometric voter registration while the National Population Census being carried out by LISGIS could if not already lost credibility.