NEC Africa takes South African government to court over biometric contract awarded to Idemia

A company that missed out on a multimillion Rand contract to supply biometric services to South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has sued the South African government for awarding the contract to Idemia, against public procurement laws. NEC, the company that has filed the suit, argues that Idemia did not bid for the contract and that  the process through which Idemia was given the contract is illegal. 

The genesis of the dispute is that in 2017, DHA awarded EOH a R400 million contract to supply an Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). In controversial circumstances, EOH ceded the contract to Idemia in 2018. Thereafter, DHA signed a new contract with Idemia for R191 million. In an article published by IT Web, NEC argues in court papers that these contracts were illegal and should be set aside, and the two companies directed to refund all public funds paid under the contracts.