NEC sues Australian agency for biometric contract cancellation

NEC sues Australian agency for biometric contract cancellation

NEC Australia is going to court to seek compensation from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) for the cancellation of its Biometric Identification Services (BIS) contract, alleging the cancellation was carried out by the government agency for its own “convenience,” according to iTWire.

Proceedings were filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria, a year after ACIC cancelled NEC’s contract. NEC said at the time that a “termination for convenience” clause in the contract, rather than a breach of contractual obligations, motivated the move, while ACIC said the project could not be saved due to delays. The contract had been awarded by ACIC’s predecessor CrimTrac in 2016.

In support of its suit, NECA said that it has been unsuccessfully trying to recover its costs from the termination, and cited a report from Australia’s Auditor-General, which called the project’s administration by the government “deficient in almost every significant respect.” The company also cites a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement (PJCLE) report, and says that neither report criticized NEC’s role in the project.

“As a result and after careful deliberation, NEC Australia has decided to take legal action to recoup its costs directly related to the project by commencing legal proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria,” the company says in a statement, as quoted by iTWire.

“NEC has a proud history of developing and delivering biometrics projects all over the world, much of it for governments and NECA was excited about the prospect of delivering a new biometrics project for Australians.”

The company says the ACIC CEO did not direct any criticism towards it for its biometric project roll-out expertise, and that while it respects the right of the agency to cancel the contract, it should be compensated for its substantial investment.

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