Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kenyan Firm in the Mix As Malawi E-passport System is “Hacked”

Malawi passport system hacked

President Lazarus Chakwera says Malawi authorities is not going to bow all the way down to those that have hacked the Division of Immigration passport printing system to pay the demanded ransom. He made these remarks earlier than responding to questions by Members of Parliament within the Nationwide Meeting. The Malawi E-passport system has allegedly been held captive by hackers.

Final month on January 24, the Immigration Division stopped printing passports citing technical interruptions at its passport issuance system. Kenya has additionally been dealing with challenges in issuing Passports and nationwide IDs. Futhermore, issuance of driving license playing cards in Malawi was halted final 12 months on account of an absence of printing playing cards.

President Chakwera assured Malawians that the Division of Immigration will quickly begin issuing passports. He gave a directive to the division to supply a short-term repair and resume printing passports inside 3 weeks. He additionally talked about the division is growing a long-term resolution with safeguards acknowledging it is a critical nationwide safety problem.

Criticallly, Malawi is not going to pay the ransom and investigation into the menace actors is underway.

“I wish to ship a robust message to the hackers that we’ll not pay a ransom. We now have launched an investigation to trace you and after we observe you there will probably be no mercy.” said the President.

Kenyan IT Agency Contract

Whereas the federal government factors to the unknown hackers, the hitch might be tied to a controversial contract termination. In December 2021, the Malawi authorities terminated its contract with Techno Mind Restricted to improve the passport issuance system.

We should at all times do the best factor, it doesn’t matter what it takes. As a rustic, we’ve an obligation to make sure that we safeguard public funds from plunder. As a authorities, all the pieces we do have to be completed with the folks on the centre of it as a result of we serve the folks,” stated Malawi Lawyer Common Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda.

Techno Mind World insists that it didn’t flout any course of to win the Malawi e-Passport contract, saying it submitted a bid in response to a global bidding course of following stringent and compliance procedures.

The $60.8m contract was awarded by the earlier authorities in 2019. At the moment, the hitch that the federal government is attributing to hackers may truly be denial of entry. Whereas not said by both social gathering, Techno Mind seems to have locked the federal government out of the passport system.

Beforehand, the Malawian authorities had some Admin rights. A decision to this dispute might be the answer to the system “hack”.

Techno Mind World Financial institution Ban

Malawi’s determination got here after the World Financial institution had banned the Kenyan Tech firm and it’s UAE based mostly dad or mum firm on account of fraud in an Built-in Public Monetary Administration Reform Venture in Liberia. Malawi just isn’t an financial big and infrequently is dependent upon World Financial institution help. In 2023, a $60 million grant was wanted to avert acute shortages of essential commodities.

The Malawi e-passport contract included the implementation of a brand new digital passport system, with 800,000 digital passports to be supplied beneath the “construct, function, and switch” mannequin. Nonetheless, it got here to mild that Malawians had been being overcharged, as the federal government was making a revenue of K30,000(KES 1800) to K117,000 (KES 7020) on every passport issued by the Division of Immigration and Citizenship Companies, primarily on account of inflated costs.

This January, amidst the controversy surrounding the digital passport deal, Techno Mind launched a press release pleading for the restoration of the terminated contract. They argued that the mission was mutually helpful for each events, highlighting their contributions to Malawi’s passport system. Particularly, they emphasised the very important groundwork they laid, comparable to employees coaching, and offered the opportunity of resuming the mission as a “win-win” situation.

It’s price noting the October 2020 ban by the World Financial institution expires this month.

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