UK-based private company De La Rue issued a rejoinder on a report headlined “MRP booklet supply; Company with fraud record gets nod” published in The Daily Star on January 24.
Below we publish the full text of the rejoinder:
De La Rue was very concerned to read your article dated 24 January 2013, and we have prepared the following statement in order to set the record straight.
De La Rue always respects client confidentiality and due process relating to commercial negotiations; therefore, it was surprised to read speculation of results from the tender concerning the supply of machine readable passport, printed in your article.
De La Rue produces passports for a significant number of countries worldwide and a wide range of other security documents, including driving licenses, authentication labels and tax stamps. In addition, it manufactures sophisticated high speed cash sorting and inspection equipment. It is the trusted partner of government, central banks, issuing authorities and commercial organisations around the world, and is the world's largest integrated commercial banknote printer. It has, in recent years, been involved in the design and production of over 150 national currencies.
As reported in the media, in 2009 the UK government awarded De La Rue the contract to produce machine readable passports for the UK and in November 2011 De La Rue supplied its 10 millionth book. There can be no doubt that De La Rue has the credentials, and is the best placed organisation to satisfy the needs and requirements of the Bangladesh government with respect to the design and supply of the new Bangladesh passports.
De La Rue, in its application, fully complied with the tender process and does not have what was reported in the article as a record of “abandoning supply, improperly completing contacts, inordinate delay or financial failure”.
Due to client confidentially obligations, De La Rue cannot disclose specific details of any commercial arrangements with its customers. However, it can confirm that it has not had any customer contract in the sub-continent cancelled for the reasons alleged in the article or, indeed, for other reasons. De La Rue further confirms that it has been fully transparent with the Department of Immigration and Passport throughout the tender process.
It should be noted that the allegations made in the article are from sources that “preferred not to be named” and from “officials requesting anonymity.” De La Rue is concerned that inaccurate hearsay and speculation from sources that were not willing to be named had been given so much credibility in the article.
De La Rue remains convinced that it is the organisation best placed to meet the requirement of the Bangladesh government and awaits the results from the tender evaluation committee.
The rejoinder does not respond to the specific issues raised in our report that De La Rue supplied sub-standard bank notes in India, following which India cancelled its contract with the company.
The sources of our report included top newspapers of UK and India and also reports from De La Rue itself. We quote from some of the dozens of reports on the issue in the following paragraphs.
In its September, 2010, Trading Statement, De La Rue admitted wrong doings by saying that its board was investigating the irregularities and it “has now been established that some of the company's employees have deliberately falsified certain paper specification test certificates for a limited number of customers”.
The Economist in its August 11, 2012, article headlined De La Rue: Cash Machine said, “Investors feared that De La Rue had done irreparable damage to its own reputation in 2010, when it botched an order for high-quality banknote paper from a big client, said to be India's central bank. De La Rue had declared the paper met the required standards when it had not. Its chief executive resigned and the share price almost halved.”
“The troubled banknote producer De La Rue confirmed yesterday that a number of its employees had falsified paper quality reports for some of its 150 clients, and that the findings of the investigation have been passed on to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO),” The Independent reported on September 8, 2010.
The Times on January 28 last ran a report headlined “De La Rue left hoping for change as Chinese deal slips out of its grasp” notes: The company was hard hit in 2010 when a banknote paper scandal resulted in the Indian Government, its largest customer, cancelling its contract with the British company.”