Disgruntlement rocks treasury over new IFMIS provider


— Economy bad for the choices

By Gregory Gondwe

Malawi’s ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Development has been rocked with disgruntlements after it settled for three out of 12 bidders expected to provide software solutions called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) which is set to operate Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) having set aside US$10m to replace the current one.

A source at the Treasury said Government has however failed to consider its financial limitations and has settled for Transnational Computer Technologies whose bid price is US$12,200.000.00; Twenty Third Century US$13,807,561.46 and Free Balance US$13,995,935.00.

“These three companies were shortlisted and qualified for opening of financial evaluation taking place in Salima as we speak now,” said the source in an interview on Thursday last week.

Government said it is surprised that this journalist has information that it kept under wraps.

Spokesperson for the Ministry Finance and Economic Planning and Development Nations Msowoya responded to a Malawi News questionnaire that the only latest information that is available for the public is information pertaining to the bid opening that was conducted on Friday, 11 September 2015 where 12 bids were opened and their respective prices were announced.

“The ministry is therefore surprised that you have information relating to this process when the same has not been released either officially or unofficially by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

Msowoya then explained that the procurement process for supply and installation of IFMIS software is being guided by the World Bank’s procurement guidelines and the Malawi Public Procurement Act of 2003.

“Under the above legislative framework and guidelines, procurement information is treated as private and confidential up until the entire process is completed,” he insisted.

He therefore said that the Ministry in accordance with the World Bank’s procurement guidelines and the Malawi Procurement Act will provide to the public the necessary information regarding the procurement process of the new IFMIS platform at an appropriate time when the evaluation is finalized.

Information the journalist has sourced indicate that the other bidders include KPMG whose total bid price was US$47, 858, 154.00; TBL whose bidding price US$6,573,326.04; Neurotech whose bidding price was US$8,883,110.53; State Informatics Sparc Systems Novabase whose bidding price was US$28,241,975.00.

Others were Tech Mahindra Limited whose bidding price was US13,859,996.00; Timestamp whose bidding price was US$30, 141,770.00; Soft Tech Consultants Ltd, Epcor whose bidding price was US$10, 316, 934; Intrasoft Int. TechNet Verve K.O. whose bidding price was US$23,096,914.29; and Cleoliv Int. Smart Link Ltd whose bidding price was US$14,500,000.

The source said they believe the process has been compromised looking at how Government is struggling for money and yet they want to buy the expensive solutions.

“Transnational Computer Technology of course is not established in Malawi and their quote is over US$13 million but was given highest scoring by the evaluators,” the source said.

The second best scorer was Twenty Third Century while Free Balance came third.

“An independent impartial Public Financial Management Specialist or Consultant from outside Malawi should be brought to authenticate and investigate how the evaluation was done , whether they followed the proper procedures and all other related issues,” said the source.

The source said Malawi does not need such an expensive solution and this might end up becoming an all money making racket.

“Seriously this is not the time that our Government should be buying Rolls Royce kind of solution because it’s waste of public resources. They can do with the cheapest, best and reliable robust solution like Uganda or Kenya where a study team was sent,” said the source.

“There is need to do due diligence of these three shortlisted companies, their credibility as Government risks paying huge amounts, when in actual fact they can do with a good reliable and cheaper solution,” insisted the source.

As part of the Public Financial Management reforms, Government, in 2005, appointed Soft-Tech Consulting Limited (Soft-Tech), an Epicor Ltd software solutions technology partner, to implement an Epicor based Ifmis.

IFMIS is a common information and communication technology (ICT) platform which integrates core public financial management (PFM) functions to ensure efficient management of public resources.

However, due to massive theft of public resources as Ifmis was manipulated, Government engaged a Business Process Review study carried out by the task force which is now proposing a complete replacement of the system by identifying another vendor.

Treasury constituted a team to study the option of upgrading and replacing ifmis.

Government targeted top five ranked IFMIS ERP solutions in order of rank are SAP; Oracle Financials; Microsoft Dynamics; Infor; and Epicor.

Government started calling for bids through the local press of 22nd January 2015 before withdrawing it on January 30, 2015 amid pressure for a number of anomalies in the whole process.

Government started calling for bids to have a new service provider that would replace SofTech providers of Epcor software that has been in use for the country’s Ifmis that led to Cashgate.

A report that has been produced based on public financial activities that took place between January 2009 and December 2014 has once again faulted the weakness in the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis).

The report which is a result of analysis of financial data by PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services (Pty) Limited (PwC) which was contracted by the Auditor General of Malawi shows that an anomaly on 1,911 cheques that were posted and could not be reflected in the Cashbook indicate a control weakness in IFMIS.

 

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2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Police conduct at Luciano Show


The Malawi Police Service in the country has officers that are hardwired to behave with some airs of renitent boorishness. I know so because I have two brothers – like cousins – who are police officers.

When we were staying together in the same household they were just like any other siblings; respectful to us the elder brothers and all that, but as soon as they completed their training at the Police Training School, their attitude completely and suddenly revolved into something unrecognisable. They surrounded themselves with airs of undeserved authority and everything they wanted to do, they did with unapologetic impunity.

I don’t know what they are taught at that institution in Kanjedza because all over sudden they talk to you in an imposing way and they think you can no longer reason better with them. Just check what happens whenever you meet them and are accusing you of committing an offence be it in the street, markets or on the road, it is a mistake to refer to any piece of legislation to endorse your argument because they will throw you in police cell just to show that you are nothing with your learnt attitude when it comes to dealing with the police. What is strange is that the higher they rise through the ranks, the more sober they get; at least this is what they demonstrate in public.

Lately, apart from this attitude they have now added so many bad apples among them who are the leading instigators in most of the country’s violent armed robberies.

Enough of the opening; the reason I am talking about them today has to do with what I witnessed at Silver Stadium last Saturday when Jamaican international reggae superstar Luciano performed. Being what this artist is, the organisers hired numerous security service providers including our own police officers.

The gate fee for the ‘open stands’ was K8, 000 per head. Considering the country’s economic situation, this was extremely on the higher side and therefore the police officers took advantage.

The police were supposed to provide security and order by ensuring that the show had no gatecrashers as well as people who would breach peace.

But instead they were busy aiding gate crashing. This is how they were doing it in order to hoodwink the organisers manning the gates.

They would handcuff a few people, accusing them of breaking the law with someone who was already inside the show. Under the pretext that they want the apprehended guys to show them their accomplices inside, they would convince these organisers to let them pass into the show and those that were arrested would be left free once inside after paying K4000.

I know that the police officers are paid an allowance at the end of a show like this one and therefore while we cannot control greed sometimes, it is a shame when you find the police officers using the official apparatus for self enrichment.

Do you wonder why we will always question why our musicians are always toiling in vain? This is a good example of how not to engage police officers in events like these ones. But at what expense can this be achieved? I know how unruly patrons to these shows can be sometimes but do we really need to put more police officers to police them further to ensure that everything is orderly?

It is a pity when you consider how much Born African Production spent to bring into the country a music star of a stature of Luciano. He also brought alongside Luciano seven members of the All Nations Band and at least the charges would have alleviated the financial burden the firm suffered to achieve all this.

But well, our police being such champions of this kind of notoriety had a trick up their sleeves and decided to fleece Born African. What happened to an honest Malawi Police Service? Can the Malawi music really depend on the police if it has to achieve any progress at all?

Of course as I earlier indicated that these are just some bad apples, but … the Police should sober up their hardwired behaviour when it comes to public relations. They always think they can do anything and get away with it. If one tries to reprimand them whenever they are in the act of wrong doing, they always trump up charges in a very vindictive manner and where money is involved, the one who offers them more is always right.

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Luciano calls for Visa exemption


The Jamaican music maestro Luciano who performed in the country over the weekend has called for the abolition of a visa requirement for Jamaican nationals that are visisting African countries.

He said this in an exclusive interview before the show in Lilongwe.

Upon Arrival at the Airport on Friday

Jah Messenger Greeting fans on arrival at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe last Friday

When asked what his impression with Malawi was he said:

“One little concern I have is with the visa. I never expected that Jamaicans would have to pay for a visa to come into an African country. Jamaica is one of the commonwealth countries of the Caribbean so it should really be exempted from this kind of legislative bombardment.”

Otherwise he said the reception from the Nyabinghi was great as it uplifted his spirits. He said this proves that the Rastafarian spirit is strong in Malawi.

“This was my first impression. And as they say first impression lasts forever,” he said.

Gregory Gondwe interviewing the messenger before the show

Gregory Gondwe interviewing the messenger before the show

Over the years, Luciano says he takes his musical career as a mission that has become a ministry which has grown.

He says he knows a lot of people listening to his works over the years are being able to appreciate consistent with inspiration and message in his music.

Grega I & Messenger

In Rastafarian Greeting with Blogger and Journalist Gregory Gondwe

“I believe that music is a gift from God and the more you use it to the Honour and Glory of him then he will multiply your blessings,” he said.

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Luciano calls for Visa exemption


The Jamaican music maestro Luciano who performed in the country over the weekend has called for the abolition of a visa requirement for Jamaican nationals that are visisting African countries.

Times Gregory Gondwe interviewing the messenger before the show

Malawian journalist and blogger Gregory Gondwe talking to Luciano at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe where he was the guest

He said this in an exclusive interview with The Daily Times before the show in Lilongwe.

When asked what his impression with Malawi was he said:

“One little concern I have is with the visa. I never expected that Jamaicans would have to pay for a visa to come into an African country. Jamaica is one of the commonwealth countries of the Caribbean so it should really be exempted from this kind of legislative bombardment.”

Grega I & Messenger

Rastafarian Greetings with Gregory Gondwe

Otherwise he said the reception from the Nyabinghi was great as it uplifted his spirits. He said this proves that the Rastafarian spirit is strong in Malawi.

“This was my first impression. And as they say first impression lasts forever,” he said.

Over the years, Luciano says he takes his musical career as a mission that has become a ministry which has grown.

Upon Arrival at the Airport on Friday

Greeting fans after touchdown at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe

He says he knows a lot of people listening to his works over the years are being able to appreciate consistent with inspiration and message in his music.

“I believe that music is a gift from God and the more you use it to the Honour and Glory of him then he will multiply your blessings,” he said.

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Luciano Conquers Malawi as he performs over 2hrs non-stop


Jamaican International Reggae Superstar Luciano whose distinguished performance from the late hours of March 28 to the wee hours of March 29, at times, left all the patrons transfixed agape at the finery at which he executed and showed all that came why he has made his name an international household.

Born 20 October 1964, as Jepther McClymont, despite his age Luciano also executed two of his signature summersaults amidst performance that went with his unbelievable thrilling voice.

With such a scintillating performance mesmerised fans were spell bound that they didn’t realise where the tracks were coming from but it was clear it was within his albums that include Moving Up, One Way Ticket, After All, Where There Is Life, (1995) Messenger, (1997) Sweep Over My Soul, (1999), A New Day, (2001), Great Controversy, (2001), Serve Jah, (2003), Visions, Serious Times, Jah Words, Child of a King, God Is Greater than Man, Jah Is My Navigator, United States of Africa, Write My Name, Rub-A-Dub Market, The Qabalah Man  and the latest Deliverance.

The South African backing queens

Nomawethu and Mpumi backed Luciano with glamour

The line up included more local acts including Sally Nyundo, Soul Raiders, Skeffa Chimoto, Lucius Banda and many more but the Malawian South African based reggae star Born African, real name Nelson Shaba showed why he has come of age.

This was perhaps the only reggae musical show after the 1987 Reggae Unite for Africa where various Jamaican artists converged and performed at Kamuzu Stadium, where the musical instruments were emitting crystal Clear sound.

The Fans

The Fans got what they never anticipated

During performance Luciano acknowledge the same and doffed his hat to sound Engineer, fellow compatriot Jonny B who also came during the Fanton Mojah show at Lilongwe Golf Club a few months ago.

Stepping Unto the stage

Luciano doing what he knows best

Bucandy Playing first keyboards set, Ricky second keyboards set, Trust playing lead guitar, bassist Angelo, Lumanyo on drums as well as the two ladies, Nomawethu and Mpumi, the backing vocalists, completed the ‘All Nations Band’ which Luciano also praised highly.

The performance that Luciano staged, he said was to prove to all and sundry that he has deep love for Malawi and Africa, stating that he had health complications that failed his planned visit last year and it was not because of Ebola.

Into the wee hours

Jah Messenger never showed fatigue

Drenched in sweat after a scintillating performance

Drenched in sweat but never relented

In the midst of things

Sweep over my Soul: Sings Luciano

Earlier in an interview at his Capital Hotel Luciano said he feared nothing. He said his coming to Africa as well as Malawi is an indication that his is back home amongst ‘relatives’.

“If you must know, I have a house in Gambia and I visit Africa without thinking twice because this is my home,” he said.

Born African introducing Luciano

Born African hands the mic to the master

Born African

Born African showed that he is in the class of the legends

Born African at his usual best

Born African: In the midst of the reggae business

The artiste popularly known as the Jah Messenger who was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer on 15 October 2007, in recognition of his contribution to reggae music, said he spreads positive messages.

He opened the proceedings with ‘No Night in Zion’ and shouted ‘Mulibwanji’ to the cheering of the fans and he kept saying ‘Zikomo’.

After this track he made intros of some other famous tunes like ‘Sweep over my soul’, Ulterior Motive, and ‘Give Praise to Rastafarie’.

Later in the show he performed a segment which he called Rub-a-dub segment which he said was in honour of another fallen reggae legend the late Denis Emmanuel Brown.

Fans and workers at the Kamuzu International Airport and the Capital Hotel where he was putting up at said they were surprised with his humility.

“We have hosted many famous artists but never have we met someone who talks and bows down to each and everyone,” said a front desk officer at the hotel.

Upon inviting him to a press briefing in the lounge of the hotel, close by was sitting an old man, Luciano went there to seek permission if it was okay to have an interview close by, and the old citizen could not understand such honour.

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