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Government sued over Ifmis deal

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One of the bidders to provide installation of integrated financial management system (Ifmis), Transnational Computer Technology (TCT), has dragged government to court for a judicial review over procurement of the system.

According to the documents Malawi News has seen, the company is alleging that by inviting them to demonstrate on how their systems would work, if selected, it implied that they had won the contract hence they are suing Malawi government for a breach of contract.

Two years ago, government placed a tender to identify a supplier to install new software bug of the system but the tender had so many irregularities during evaluation that had also irked the co-financers in the purchasing of the system, World Bank.

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Secretary to the Treasury, Ben Botolo, has confirmed that the company has dragged Minister of Finance and his office to court.

“Yes we have been taken to court over the matter, and it is not only the Minister of Finance and my office. The company has even sued the Accountant General and I cannot give you more information as the matter is in court,” Botolo said.

But according to government sources, although the company wants a judicial review, procurement of the system has not yet been completed.

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Sources have said the company might have gotten wind that the process is about to be finished as some of the firms that it had competed with, were also called for a demonstration on how their systems would work if they were picked.

Said the source: “The company did not satisfy the systems requirements in the presence of both the donors and Malawi government officials.”

Ifmis is a system that has been blamed for the looting of billions of kwacha in the country, known as Cashgate. Over K30 billion was looted from public coffers in just a space of two years.

The system has been marred by technological loopholes that have led to abuse, loss and pilferage of public funds.

Top government officials used fellow civil servants, especially in IT department and at Accountant General, to take advantage of the system, by logging into the system remotely with multiple identities to steal public money.

Chairperson of Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Rhino Chiphiko, has said it is very unfortunate that the matter, which could have been solved long time ago, keeps on dragging.

“The judicial review would further delay the installation of the new Ifms system. It will take longer than expected and in the process, it will further delay government activities including salaries,” Chiphiko said.

He further expressed disappointment that the country cannot be trusted on matters of procurement.

Since Cashgate revelations, government has been struggling to replace Ifmis software called Epicor and the World Bank is helping Malawi government to source the latest version.

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