US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1532

NIGERIA: SEVEN U.S. COMPANIES BID FOR NATIONAL ID CARD PROJECT

Identifier: 01ABUJA1532
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1532 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-06-29 17:47:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: ECON EINV NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001532 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, EINV, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SEVEN U.S. COMPANIES BID FOR NATIONAL ID 
CARD PROJECT 
 
REF: CARRIG-WALKER EMAIL 6/25/01 
 
 
1. (U) Summary.  Seven U.S. companies, in two separate 
consortia, made oral presentations for a USD 200 million 
national identification card project on June 28.  The actual 
presentation of bid proposals appeared to be open and 
transparent, with a total of four consortia competing for the 
bid.  However, is alleged that the French government may be 
placing intense pressure on the GON to choose the French 
consortium.  End Summary. 
 
 
2. On June 28, Ambassador Jeter and EconOffs attended the 
oral presentations of seven U.S. companies (in two consortia) 
in their bid for the national identification card project, 
worth approximately USD 200 million.  All four consortia 
presented their proposals in front of a wide audience of GON 
officials and interested diplomatic representatives.  GON 
officials included President Obasanjo, Vice President 
Abubakar, the Minister, Deputy Minster, and Permanent 
Secretary for Internal Affairs, Chief of the Independent 
 
SIPDIS 
National Electoral Commission, and Senate Chairman of the 
Committee on National Identification Cards. Post was 
encouraged by the open and transparent manner in which the 
bidding process was conducted, and the lively questioning 
that ensued following the presentations. 
 
 
3.  Per Ref email, DOC earlier had advised Ambassador Jeter 
to represent Datacard and Polaroid, as the only U.S. concerns 
for the project, at the June 28 presentation.  To demonstrate 
USG support for Datacard's bid, Ambassador Jeter prepared a 
letter to Vice President Abubakar on behalf of the company. 
However, the letter went undelivered because the Ambassador 
discovered, after arriving at the presentation venue, that 
there were in fact five other U.S. companies bidding for the 
project as partners in the Mint/Crest consortium.  These 
companies are East Shore Technologies, NCS Pearson, Omicron, 
Oracle, and IBM. 
 
 
4. President Obasanjo commented, as an aside, that only three 
of the four consortia are competitive: Crest/Mint, Chams 
(Datacard and Polaroid), and a consortium of French 
companies.  The Government of France (GOF) appears to be very 
active in promoting its companies in the tendering process. 
During the course of the presentations, several of the U.S. 
companies commented to Ambassador Jeter that the GOF was 
putting significant pressure on the GON on behalf of the 
French consortium.  For example, one company representative 
suggested that the French government had offered bilateral 
debt cancellation in exchange for award of the contract. 
Moreover, the French Foreign Minister arrived in Abuja that 
same evening on a long scheduled visit, and upon arrival 
would undoubtedly be in a position to pressure the GON to 
accept the French bid. 
 
 
5. Comment.  Unfortunately, Post was not informed in advance 
of five of the seven U.S. companies bidding for the national 
ID project and, therefore, the Ambassador was unable to 
provide a specific endorsement of any one or combination of 
U.S. companies.  As it turned out, Ambassador Jeter who sat 
just left of President Obasanjo, felt compelled to stay for 
all of the U.S. companies' presentations, a total of about 
seven hours.  In his statement, Ambassador Jeter said that 
all of the U.S. companies represented were eminently 
qualified for this project and expressed the hope that there 
would be American participation.  The companies present 
seemed satisfied with the approach and expressed deep 
gratitude for an Embassy presence. 
 
 
6. Comment Continued: Post is encouraged by President 
Obasanjo's efforts to make the bidding process open and 
transparent for this high profile national project (one 
dogged, unfortunately, with extensive allegations of waste 
and corruption for years).  The tendering process, at least 
at this semi-public event, appears to have been on a level 
playing field.  A Statehouse official told the Ambassador on 
June 29 that President Obasanjo and his team will take a few 
weeks to assess their findings and impressions and will make 
an announcement of their decision at such time.  End Comment. 
Jeter 

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