MAPUTO, Mozambique’s Interior Ministry has awarded the contract for installing and strengthening the system to produce identity and travel documents and visas to the German company, Mulbauer ID Services, according to media reports here.

The announcement had been widely expected, since the German company won the tender held earlier this year. This followed the government’s termination of the contract held by the Belgian company, Semlex Europe, after a lengthy dispute arising from the inability of Semlex to produce documents in good time and of the quality demanded by the government.

Semlex signed with the government in 2009 a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract, valid for 10 years for the supply of secure solutions for the production of identity documents (IDs), travel documents, identification and residence documents for foreigners (DIRE) and frontier visas.

The government terminated the contract after an audit found that Semlex was in violation of the terms of the contract. In August, Semlex demanded another audit which should be carried out by an independent entity, a recognized company, with proven technical and professional experience in the area.

The government turned this proposal down, and Semlex closed down its operations in Mozambique on Sept 30. The Semlex contract was always mired in controversy. The deal was struck by the previous government of President Armando Guebuza, and the contract was given to Semlex in 2009 without any public tender, in violation of Mozambique’s procurement rules.

When the new tender was launched this year, Semlex did not submit a bid in its own name, but as the Lithuanian company UAB Carsu Pasaulis. Since the Semlex Group purchased this company in 2014, the Lithuanian bid can be regarded as coming from Semlex under another name.

A jury from the Ministry of the Interior assessed the technical bids from five companies and announced its classification on Aug 9. The Mozambican subsidiary of the German company, Muhlbauer ID Services, won, with a score from the jury of 84.85. UAB Garsu Pasaulis trailed with a score of 70.05.