“Not Printed by Thomas De La Rue – Surplus above Stipulated 35,000!”
Following in-depth investigation by the Open Space Newspaper, it has been discovered that the original contract signed between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Immigration Department on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) with Jamal Shallop and Netpage for the production of biometric Sierra Leone Passports should actually end in February 2024.
Very reliable sources however state that, Jamal Shallop and Netpage had long before now gone out of their way with alleged connivance of the former Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) Jaiah Kaikai to extend the life of the passport contract to 2028 through an addendum bypassing Parliament which is the authoritative body to approve extension to any contract that went to Parliament.
It is this arrangement which is giving airs to Jamal Shallop and Netpage to the extent of brazenly denying the obvious and even threatening genuine media houses exposing the truth with legal suits.
Another startling revelation that was unearthed during our investigation is the fact that, Thomas de La Rue which Netpage claimed is the printer of Sierra Leone passports is false. Our investigations reveal that Thomas de La Rue used to print British passports but no longer does after losing the contract. Thomas de La Rue on its part had come out with a statement that it no longer prints passports and that, they only and exclusively print currency notes.
Till date, Jamal Shallop has not informed Sierra Leoneans where he prints our passports but wants us to believe that Thomas De La Rue are the printers which is not true because as stated earlier, our investigations reveal that, British passports are currently being printed by Gemalto. (A cursory Google check will prove us right).
The question now is: If Thomas De La Rue ceded the printing of British passports to Gemalto and Thomas De La Rue is no longer printing passports, who is printing Sierra Leone passports?
Another thorny issue our investigations unearthed is the one concerning the number of passports Jamal Shallop and Netpage are authorized to print annually. According to the contract, a total of 35,000 passports are to be produced annually and handed to the GoSL for sale to eligible Sierra Leoneans.
However, we are made to understand that Jamal Shallop and Netpage on an annual basis print as many as 60,000 Sierra Leone passports which are far more than the specified amount on the contract signed between the GoSL, Jamal Shallop and Netpage.
The question therefore arises: Where is the huge number of additional passports going to?
It is against this background that Sierra Leoneans are resigned to the fact that it is because Jamal Shallop and Netpage are printing above the required and stipulated number of passports according to the contract, is the reason why Sierra Leone passports easily find their way into the hands of Al-Queda, Hizbullah, Boko Haram, Chechnya separatists and other terrorist and guerilla war groups around the world.
This of course is the reason why Sierra Leone is always considered a rogue state on the international front because Jamal Shallop and Netpage are allegedly making Sierra Leone passports a cheapskate affair and an easy to acquire document as long as you pay the right price.
It is precisely because we are patriotic citizens and want the good image of Sierra Leone to be upheld around the world is the reason we are digging and exposing all we can about the surreptitious manner in which the Sierra Leone passport contract has been going on and is about to be extended in very suspicious manner. We are willing, ready and capable to continue doing this sacred duty without fear, favor and without malice.