Tenders had been called twice, with the technical evaluation committee having recommended that Madras Security Printers (MSP), which has a nominal local agent only, be given the job.
The cabinet approved the calling of fresh tenders after the procurement appeal board at the President’s Office pointed out the shortcomings in that first tender.
The tender was first called on 24 April 2016 with the closing date being 20 June 2016.
Newspaper advertisements calling for fresh tenders were published on 15 and 16 of January 2017, and the technical evaluation committee recommended MSP once again.
The MSP’s bid in the first tender was 3.19 US dollars to print 1,000 stickers, but it almost doubled to 5.99 USD at the second time.
Now, the second tender too, has been recommended to be cancelled, citing the reason that the tender process had been biased to one bidder.
The same technical evaluation committee recommended MSP on both occasions.
There is speculation that the owners of MSP and a relative of the former finance minister are having a close link.
Mahinda Rajapaksa too, attempted, during his rule, to introduce a foolproof sticker and a management system, but that did not materialize as the demand for commission money kept increasing.