A US$13,7 million tender to supply anti-corruption software to Malawi's government has alarm bells ringing in the country's Treasury department - this after Zimbabwe software firm Twenty Third Century Systems landed the deal after having reportedly secured third place in the bidding process.
Twenty Third Century Systems is a SAP partner and has South African shareholding, including that of SA tech firm EOH.
The tender is expected to plug corruption loopholes that have cost the government substantial amounts of money. In 2013 the Cashgate scandal is understood to have cost the government in the region of US$250 million in fraudulent payments to businessmen for services not rendered.
In 2015 Malawi issued a tender for an Integrated Financial Management Information System, but the process was drawn out and fueled suspicion of irregularity.
Secretary for the Malawian Treasury, Ben Botolo, is unhappy with the latest software tendering process.
The Nyasa Times quoted Botolo as saying, "The best way is to redo the whole process, put it out to tender and come up with fresh price quotations. I would be surprised if the vendor (Twenty Third Century Systems) maintains the same price."
Rhino Chiphiko, chairperson of the Malawian parliamentary committee on budget and finance, said, "We are really concerned about this because it looks like misprocurement. The committee strongly believes that the delays (in concluding the tender process) are to make it possible to siphon off money because the current (software) is so porous."
Reports have stated that KPMG had tendered for the bid and that its bid was the highest priced at US$47 million.
Twenty Third Century Systems MD Gilford Kapyola said the government of Malawi was handling the tender issue.