19,000 new E-passports printed without key biodata
A batch of 19,000 newly-issued East African Community E-passports do not have important biodata of the holders.
According to Uganda Radio Network (URN), whereas the E-passports were supposed to contain a chip, which includes the names, date of birth, the village of origin, fingerprints, picture, height, and contacts of the holder, the 19,000 printed ones do not have the information.
Instead, URN claims that the passports issued so far only contain a picture of the holder and scanty information about the holder on the first page.
However, Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson Jacob Siminyu is quoted as saying that the chips have so far been installed with facial recognition biometric features and that they will add the remaining data when they receive it from the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).
“For those who have already received the new passports, by the time they come for renewal of their documents, we shall have that data,” Mr. Simunyu is quoted as saying.
Even as people flock the Internal Affairs ministry every day to exchange their passports for the new electronic ones, it is still unclear when the missing data will be in place.
Despite the absence of the vital biodata, the new E-passports have since been cleared by several embassies and states including Denmark, which had refused to give Visas to some holders two weeks ago.
Marcelino Bwesigye, the acting Director Citizenship and Immigration Directorate, says the issue was never with the quality of the passport but rather the systems of the different states.
The ministry can print up-to 1,000 E-passports a day after upgrading their system from the 400 passport printing capacity.