Auditor highlights late delivery of passports

Monday, February 19th, 2024 06:42 | By
Hundreds of passport seekers queue at Nyayo House to collect the important travel documents in Nairobi. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya
Hundreds of passport seekers queue at Nyayo House to collect the important travel documents in Nairobi. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has raised concerns over delays in the issuance of passports.
The Auditor’s findings come just days after the government admitted that the move is due to lack of booklets.

In her latest report for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for the State department for Immigration and Citizen Services, Gathungu regretted that the late delivery of the e-passport booklets had adversely affected the issuance of the document.

She regretted that although the State Department entered into a contract on July 21, 2022 with an international printing company for the supply and delivery of 334,000 AK, BK, CK with the last delivery expected in March, 2023, the deliveries were made upto October, 2023 which is a contravention of Article 5 of the contract agreement.

Reads the report: “ln the circumstances, the late delivery of the e-passport booklets adversely affected the operations of the State Department and issuance of passports to the public.”

Delays in processing

The move comes just days after Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura acknowledged delays in the processing of passports at the immigration department but attributed the delays in the supply of 34-page passport booklets which go for Sh4,550. “The shortage has been caused by slow delivery of the booklets by the supplier.”

The spokesperson, however, assured the affected members of the public that efforts are ongoing to ensure a steady supply of the booklets sourced from abroad due to security reasons.

He added: “The documents are usually printed outside the country for security reasons leaving only the applicant’s Bio-data page to be printed locally upon application.”

In the meantime, Mwaura asked those with urgent needs for a passport to apply for the 50-page passports which are available in plenty. A passport in this category costs Sh6,050.

Last year, Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki pledged to streamline the system by weeding out cartels and brokers fleecing Kenyans at Nyayo House.

He attributed delays to deep-rooted graft, noting that in certain parts of the country processing of National Identity cards was taking as long as three years. He also promised to acquire more passport printing machines after complaints of a faulty printer. The report also raises concerns over inefficiencies in Digitization and Storage of Birth and Death Records.

This is after a review of records provided for audit revealed that although the Civil Registration Services (CRS) had said it had successfully digitized an estimated 46,000,000 records, it was established that as at November, last year, only 16,000,000 digitized records had been uploaded to the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS).

Not digitised

The CRS, the report adds, also had about 10 million records that had not been digitised. The non-uploading of records to the EDMS was as a result of a lack of adequate storage capacity in the CRS servers to store all the digitized records as well as because the CRS did not have staff who were centrally devoted to the digitisation of records.

Reads the report: “ln addition, the Department had not developed proper measures to have offsite data backup and recovery procedures in place despite the sensitivity of data handled.

The lack of offsite backup exposes the Service to loss of data as physical hard drives are susceptible to physical damage, theft and unauthorized access to the stored data. In the circumstances, the effectiveness of controls and measures in place for the digitisation of record of births and deaths could not be confirmed.”

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