Treasury said on Tuesday government has decided to enhance the current software used to manage the Integrated Finance Management Information System (Ifmis) after the old version became porous and resulted in abuse and theft of billions of taxpayers’ funds.
The old version of the software, Epicor 7.3, has been due for extensive upgrading since it was installed in 2005, but Cashgate findings by British forensic auditors, Baker Tilly, established that it was grossly abused, especially by lower management accountants in the civil service some of whom are answering charges of theft in court.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe yesterday, secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani said government delayed the upgrading of the software even after other countries using similar platforms had upgraded to version nine and in some cases even version 10.
Said Mangani: “Government has made the decision to enhance the current version and will be looking at replacement software. At the moment, servers are being procured [to support new software] and we will obtain technical and financial assistance from donor partners.”
The new software is expected to cost about $10 million (about K4.5 billion).
Commenting on the Public Finance Management (PFM) reforms, which President Peter Mutharika launched on Friday, Mangani said much as strengthening Ifmis was a priority of government, the PFM action plan would also address concerns from donors that resulted in withholding of budgetary support.
He said: “The PFM upgraded us as you have heard from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Now we are able to control leakage of public finances and development partners are pleased with the progress.”
The action plan will be implemented until 2016 and has so far linked the Accountant General’s software with the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) software to ensure real-time generation of bank reconciliations.