Malawi cash leak IFMIS gaps sealed – Treasury

Government, with support from Safetech, an American ICT organization, has almost won the battle to seal loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) whose abuse is being blamed for the unfolding case of theft, fraud and corruption at Capital Hill.

According to published  reports, the progress that has been made to rein in the flaws, the system, which was suspended from last month, will be back in operation come November 1, 2013.

The  Scoop newspaper quotes Spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Nations Msowoya, saying that everything is being done to ensure that all terms of the roadmap between government and development partners are adhered to.

Among the terms were that the system be suspended and resume by November 1, 2013 with tightened security features.

Msowoya:IFIMS gaps sealed

Msowoya:IFIMS gaps sealed

Msowoya said once the system returns it will run up to the end of this financial year, whereupon a review will take place on whether or not to continue using it.

“We are currently working on changing password, bringing in new features and expounding on use of other modules, including accounting, auditing, procurement and reporting,” said Msowoya.

The newspaper also quotes Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) President Chris Kamphinda Banda as having called upon government to consider decentralizing the payment system while it sorting out IFMIS.

He also proposed that government must not be in a hurry to conclude the cleaning exercise of IFMIS before carrying out studies in other countries where the system is working perfectly.

“Government must conduct a thorough survey on how the system is working in other countries and after that decided whether to improve or abandon it.

But while this is being done, as an interim measure, government may wish to revert to a decentralized system of payments which we were using until the previous regime ordered a centralized bank payment system,” said Kamphinda.

In the opinion of the CSTU President, some of the challenges besetting IFMIS include use of outdated software and using personnel lacking the necessary adequacy to operate the system.

“Some of the officers who were sent to train on how to run the system are mere clerical officers with only an MSCE and they cannot handle some of the complex demands in the system,” he said.

Msowoya arrayed Kamphinda’s fears, saying the work currently underway was informed by a robust survey and consideration of many concerns from a cross-section of stakeholders including CSTU.

He explained that once the experts are through with their work, stakeholders will decide that other modules like audit, account, and procurement be activated to ensure that the system is working in tandem with the expectation of curbing poverty in Malawi.

Msowoya said external experts will arrive in the country in November to do a forensic audit on recommendation of an America financial expert who visited the country last week on a fact finding mission.

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