Airport Scanners Will Not Detect Explosives

NAMIBIAN airports are likely going to install scanners that do not have a system that detects dangerous metal objects and explosives as per aviation requirements.

The required explosives detective system (EDS) enables airport authorities to guard against passengers boarding planes or landing with explosives and any such dangerous objects.

The scanners will be installed at Eros, Hosea Kutako, Walvis Bay and Ondangwa airports checkpoints.

Acting Namibia Airports Company chief executive officer Tamar El-Kallawi admitted to The Namibian in February this year when the story was first run that the system offered by IBB Military Services and Accessories Supplies, which they intended to award the to, tender had no EDS.

IBB is offering XIS-6545, XIS-6545 , XIS 100X and XIS-100X , which according to information from a United States company, Astrophysics, will supply the scanners, are not EDS compatible.

In her letter dated 19 September 2013, the director of Civil Aviation (DCA) Angeline Simana suggested that the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) should buy equipment that meets the present and future needs of each airport including EDS.

Despite Simana’s aice, the airports company proceeded to give the N$48 million tender to a company that offers scanners that are not EDS compatible.

NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati confirmed yesterday that they have awarded the tender to IBB, ahead of 19 other companies that had submitted bids.

Kamati said the airports company had “exercised due diligence in awarding the tender to a company that can provide a security screening system which will assist the NAC to eliminate any possible dangerous weapons that may be carried onto aircraft by passengers through their hold and carny-on baggage and through cargo”.

He said in regard to the company’s three-year strategic plan (2014-17), ensuring safety and security at all airports is priority number one.

“This is why we have ensured that the final award was done in accordance with all statutory regulations, DCA requirements included,” said Kamati.

The Namibian understands that although IBB had offered four choices, the airports company settled for the system that is not EDS compatible. This was despite that another company, CSS Security had offered an EDS compatible system for N$65 million, which was below IBB’s third option costing N$73 million.

To set the ball rolling, El-Kallawi wrote to the police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga and Simana informing them that the NAC, DCA, IBB and Astrophysics had a meeting regarding the types of scanners the airports company wanted to buy.

In the letter dated 9 September 2014, El-Kallawi says as part of the deal, the NAC had held a meeting where they decided to send representatives from the DCA and NAC to the United States for training with the company, Astrophysics, that will supply the scanners to IBB.” The purpose of this letter is for your Directorate to nominate one staff member to take part in this crucial training scheduled for October 2014,” part of the letter to Ndeitunga reads.

Ndeitunga yesterday confirmed receiving instruction from the NAC to send one officer to the US. “It would probably be someone who works in line with the airports and so forth.” Simana could not say whether the system was EDS compatible yesterday, but said her organisation was independent and would not be part of a process which they will have to audit.

Ministry of Works and Transport spokesperson Grace Mubonenwa declined to comment and referred all questions to the NAC.

IBB director Muhamed Omar could not be reached for comment yesterday because his mobile phone was unreachable. He, however, told The Namibian in February this year that his company had been awarded the scanners tender.

Source : The Namibian