IT firm files complaint over IFMIS rollout

US based IT firm Transnational Computer Technology (TCT)filed a complaint with the Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency  (PPPAA) related to the latest bid undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) to implement the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) rollout.

In its letter the company asked Tsegaye Abebe, Director General of the Agency, not to allow the board chairman of PPPAA to evaluate the claim.

The rollout of IFMIS will be implemented in 125 federal public offices. The bid that opened on August 4 has attracted only four bidders from the total 30 who bought the document.

The rollout of IFMIS will be implemented in 125 federal public offices

TCT installed the 2010 pilot and recurrent service until 2015 in nine federal and regional offices. They argued that they had won the bid and began negotiations in the previous bidding process even though MoFEC officials declined its claim.

The company also bought the document to participate in the bid but it refused to submit its offer claiming that the bidding committee of the ministry discriminated and defamed TCT thus breaking the procurement and consumer protection law.

The company officials said that TCT has officially asked representatives of MoFEC to get all the documents and information dispersed to other bidders.

“They did give us all the documents that they provided for other bidders, which is discrimination,” they claimed.

The letter sent by Mesfin Workneh, Director of the Information System Administration Directorate of MoFEC, to other   bidders weeks before the bid opening stated that this was a defamation for TCT.

Mesfin’s letter sent via email ridiculed TCT and insisted other bidders continue with the process.

The email copy that Capital obtained stated that it is a simple nightmare and illusion of the Transnational Computer Technology (TCT Company), to be the sole owner of the project without any competition, which is contrary to the government rules and regulations.

TCT representatives told Capital that they have asked Mesfin about all the information that others received. “He did not give us the required documents besides the defamation,” they claimed.

According to the internal memo and the letter signed by Alemayehu Gujo, State Minister of MoFEC, indicated that Mesfin is one of the seven members of the committee who provided input on the bid document developed by external body.

Capital has reported that the latest bid is different technically when compared with similar bid documents t issued in the preceding years.

For instance the latest document indicated that the bid evaluation gave 50 percent for the price quotation and the balance for technical.

Experts stated that the project should have technical priorities as the previous bid or the pilot did.

The technical evaluation for the previous was 70 percent.

Experts indicated that the technical evaluation should have a higher percentage than the financial proposal to keep the quality and the standard of the project that has consumed the government’s budget. “Giving priority to technology is an international standard, but the current one considers quality,” experts added.

According to the request for the proposal (RFP)documents that Capital obtained, the 2015 bid has given 70 percent to technical evaluation, while it has readjusted to 50 percent for technical and the balance for financial on the current RFP issued in May 2016.

Some of the bidders have also expressed concerns about the legitimacy of the bid process. “We have a concern about the RFP with regard to adjustments in some of the process,” company representatives who declined to be mentioned told Capital.

Some of the individuals who have been members of the RFP development process are also included on the bid technical evaluation committee, according to sources at MoFEC.

Sources stated that the bid process will be biased if the individuals are involved in the development of the bid document (RFP) and at the same time evaluate the bidders’ documents.

The independent consultant who expressed his disagreement with the development of RFP has  not been included in the bid evaluation.

Hailu Mengistuthe independent consultant invited by the government to come to Ethiopia from the US to consult IFMIS has been engaged in consultancy service for the past few years.

Experts said that the bid evaluators are also not capable of undertaking the bid evaluation.

“The project should have adequate attention by the government and has to be considered a security issue of the country,” experts claimed.

In its claim the company requested the Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency exclude Alemayehu, who is also board chairman of the agency, to exclude on the evaluation of the claim.

The issue has been brought up to Abdulaziz Mohammed, who replaced the long serving Sufian Ahmed about ten months ago, but the company claimed there was not action taken by the ministry head.

Mengistu Araya, a representative of TCT, which is owned by members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, told Capital that his company has submitted its claim for the Procurement Agency on the aim to get legal solution on the latest bid process.

The company has also claimed to  Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Deputy Prime Minister for Finance and Economic Cluster, and Minister of Communication and Information Technology about the good governance at the MoFEC and in the bid process and recurrent service that the company claimed it canceled illegally. Sources said that the Dr Debretsion has advised Abdulaziz to give a response for the TCT claims  brought up in the letter.

Recently Abdulaziz told Capital that his office is developing the response.

Capital sources said that Abdulaziz has given a response to Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Deputy Prime Minister for Finance and Economic Cluster, and Minister of Communication and Information Technology for its request that was sent about four  weeks ago.

The letter dated August 10 was copied for Getachew Assefa, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Service, Abraham Nigusse, Acting Director General of Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, and TCT and was made available to the Prime Minister’s Office and the two State Ministers of MoFEC. It indicated that measures taken by the Ministry were undertaken in the proper manner.

It also argued that the latest bid process is being undertaken legally, while the company did not submit its formal interest to reinstate the recurrent service of the pilot facility.

The company claimed that it had sent its response by email, which it argued was an acceptable way of formally communicating  according to the contract. The management of the project office has also confirmed to Capital that it received the company’s response through email.

The Minister’s letter that Capital obtained has also indicted the company on defamation and baseless propaganda against the Ministry and its officials.

“We will put the issue up to the Prime Minister and TCT will never be frustrated by the accusation of the Ministry,” Mengistu said commenting about Abdulaziz’s response.

A week ago Wasihun Abate, the long serving legal department head of MoFEC, told Capital that he does not have any information about the letter that was sent from Dr Debretsion and was not consulting the Minister about the issue.

“I did not consult about the case that you mentioned,” he raised.

Wasihun is responsible for advising the minister about the legal issue and he has to be informed if the Ministry is developing a response to the company’s claim, according to experts.

The company has also requested the Minister to cancel the bid with the concern that it defamed against to rules and regulations of the procurement procedure, but there has been no response.

The issue has also informed the Prime Minister’s Office and National Intelligence and Security Service.

The price indicator that the four consortiums submitted is significantly different. According to the price offer a consortium belonging to Techno Brain Tanzania offered about USD 19 million and ERP Software group has offered close to three times the lowest offer. ERP Software offered USD 74 million.

The other two consortiums belonging to the Tech Mahindra and Verveko offered USD 22.5 million and USD 60 million respectively.

IFMIS is an automated method that enhances efficiency in planning, budgeting, procurement, expenditure management and reporting in government offices. It is the latest budget management system that applied under the government and the private sector in the developed world.

TCT has applied this system in other African countries including Kenya and Nigeria and it has also awarded by Malawi and Sudan governments to undertake the same system.

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