Passport crisis: Nikuv contract gives govt headache

A shadowy Israeli security company, Nikuv International Projects Ltd contracted to produce passports is now giving government a headache as it is failing to hand-over the contract to Fidelity Printers since the company still has a running contract.

Nikuv is failing to produce passports owing to shortage of foreign currency and it is the same company which was accused of manipulating the 2013 general elections in favour of former President Robert Mugabe.

Zim Morning Post has learnt that when the Government OF Zimbabwe awarded the tender to NIKUV, Fidelity printers had capacity to print at least five million passports.

 However, the stumbling block for Fidelity to commence printing passports is that Nikuv still has a running contract and therefore has a locus standi to sue government.

 A source at Fidelity Printers told Zim Morning Post that the printing company is only waiting for a nod from the government to commence printing passports again subject to a mutual agreement with Nikuv.

“We are only waiting for the tender from the government but I understand that NIKUV is not willing to release the tender,” said the source.

Zim Morning Post understands that the contract which was given to NIKUV is an open contract and the only way for NIKUV to release is to negotiate well with the company.

“Government has to sweet talk NIKUV  so that the tender may be released because as it stands Nikuv has the monopoly,” added our source.

Zimbabweans have been struggling to obtain the traveling documents while the government is said to be printing only five passports per day.

Issuance of emergency passports has been suspended save for isolated special cases.

Nikuv had its contract renewed I 2014 after its controversial role in the run-up to the 2013 elections where US$10 million was paid by the then Registra-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s office in mysterious deposits between February 2013 and the day before the July 31 2013 poll.