Biometric ID Cards Help to Combat Fraud, Ensure Fair Access to Essential Services

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Biometric ID Cards are currently a panacea for Identity Fraud that was recently detected as becoming the order of the day. When this malpractice became noticeable, the statutory institution that deals with Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) sounded an urgent alarm.  This was so because of the growing threat of identity fraud, particularly in the context of Sierra Leonean citizenship acquisition and the procurement of essential documents such as Birth and Death Certificates. Two concerning trends were identified: foreign residents resorting to deceitful means to obtain citizenship by employing locals to pose as parents and the unauthorized acquisition of official certificates, leading to potential forgeries.

Indeed, these fraudulent activities not only pose a significant risk to the integrity of the country’s identity framework but also raise serious concerns regarding national security. Against such a backdrop, the importance of preserving the credibility of personal identity, which has been painstakingly rebuilt over the past five years, cannot be overemphasized.

In response to that challenge, the Government of Sierra Leone ratified a 15-year Agreement with a private entity for the production of Securitized and Multi-purpose Identity (ID) Cards. These chip-based ID Cards contain embedded features aimed at ensuring proper identification and authentication using the National Identification Number (NIN) as a unique identifier assigned from birth to death. The system is greatly helping to strengthen accountability, transparency in public administration, governance, and accountable service delivery while deterring identity fraud or manipulation attempts.

It must be noted that the ID Cards are serving various purposes for citizens and residents of Sierra Leone, including facilitating transactions with financial institutions, vehicle registration and licensing, recruitment into public and private institutions, enrollment in educational institutions, SIM card registration, vital events registration, immigration services, and business registration, among others.

Furthermore, the Securitized Multi-purpose ID Cards grant access to essential services such as healthcare, education, social security, and financial transactions. They also support tax administration, immigration opportunities and financial inclusion while safeguarding individuals against various forms of exploitation and abuse, including sexual offenses, child labor, early marriage and identity manipulation.

With the decentralization of identity services such are easing the burden on the public and complementing the Government’s efforts in crime prevention.

The ID Cards are not only standardized cards but also approved by regional and international bodies. Furthermore, the distribution process is decentralized to ensure accessibility for all residents, with priority given to populated towns.

Citizens must possess a National Identification Number (NIN) to obtain their ID Cards, with processes including visiting the NCRA Office, payment of fees, and subsequent collection from designated centers.

To ensure accessibility, the NCRA has established specific offices and centers across key locations:

  1. NCRA Headquarters: 2 Walpole Street, Freetown.
    2. NCRA Office: 23B Off Kingharman Road, Freetown.
    3. NCRA Office: Kennedy Street, Freetown.
    4. NCRA Branch Office: 230 Lumley Road, Freetown (By the Round About).
    5. NCRA Office: Waterloo along the Freetown High Way (Opposite the Police Station).
    6. NCRA Offices: Regional Headquarter Towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and Port Loko.

In a bid to enhance accessibility, the NCRA has introduced corporate services tailored for organizations and institutions. For comprehensive information on these corporate services, interested parties can contact the following numbers: +232-33-433-333 / +232-30-500-000 / +232-60-000 / +232-78-221-812 or via EMAIL:

In essence, the issuance of ID Cards by the NCRA signifies a crucial step towards enhancing identity security, preserving national integrity, and ensuring equitable access to essential services for all residents of Sierra Leone.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here