Some civil society organisations (CSOs) want government to suspend the procurement process of the new Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis) software. The CSOs also want government to suspend Accountant General (AG) Chrighton Chimombo.
The CSOs, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), question the procurement process, especially the picking of the third-placed bidder as winner; hence, their claim that the process is suspicious.
If their demands are not met, the CSOs say they will include the issue in their petition to be presented to government at the end of protest marches set for September 21 2018. They also say they would seek legal redress in court.
But Chimombo, in an interview yesterday, said he will not step down because the allegation about picking the third-placed bidder are not true.
He said government is negotiating with the winning bidder after passing through four evaluation processes.
The CSOs’ calls come after Chimombo recently indicated that government will now engage Parliament and other stakeholders in negotiations with the winning bidder in procuring the new Ifmis software.
But in its statement yesterday, HRDC said it learnt with shock that the winning vendor to operate Ifmis, Twenty Third Century from Zimbabwe, came third during the bidding process.
Our sister newspaper, Weekend Nation reported in June that the Zimbabwean firm was given an award letter as the vendor to operate Ifmis—government’s electronic payment platform—although their 2015 bid price of $13 807 561.46 is on the higher side for Malawi.
The CSOs statement, signed by the coalition’s chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence, among others, demanded the termination of the whole procurement process and suspension of those directly involved.
But Chimombo said Twenty Third Century System was chosen after the evaluation process that included four evaluation processes, namely, technical evaluation, financial evaluation, due diligence and live system demonstrations.
He said: “It is after these evaluation processes were completed that the evaluation team identified the winning bid of Twenty Third Century System, a firm that is offering SAP Software, one of the leading global enterprise resource planning software. Let me put it on record that this procurement process was supervised by World Bank.
“It should be noted that as the procurement was being concluded, the World Bank project that was financing acquisition and implementation of new IFMIS came to an end.”
Chimombo said government communicated to World Bank through Secretary to Treasury its decision to continue with procurement process by negotiating with the winning bidder.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the new Ifmis is expected to improve public finance management.
In the 2018/19 National Budget, procurement of Ifmis was allocated K5 billion.
The bid opening was conducted in Salima on September 11 2015 where 12 bids were opened and their respective prices were announced, which this reporter has seen.
Twenty Third Century, whose 2015 bid price was $13 807 561.46, puts its recurring costs every three years at $3 086 294.73, which the taxpayer would have to cough up.
Transnational Computer Technologies had set its bid price at $12 200 000.00 and at a recurring cost of $1 418 780.21 for five years.
Another firm, Free Balance, had set its offer at S$13 995 935.00.
Information Weekend Nation sourced indicate that the other bidders include KPMG, whose total bid price was $47 858 154.00; TBL whose bidding price $6 573 326.04; Neurotech, whose bidding price was $8 883 110.53.