Founder of Market Insights Tracking (Mitra), Albert Chigoga has distanced himself from Mitra Systems, the company that was controversially awarded the bid by the Reserve Bank of Malawi to supply and deliver ICT hardware for Flexcube Upgrade and ICT hardware for Automated Transfer System.
The contact has since been nullified by the High Court and ordered the Central Bank to re-tender the bid after finding irregularities in the procurement process, that included the Zimbabwean-owned company failing to me one crucial criteria of 5 years of experience to supply office equipment of that nature.
Chigoga says he has a strong feeling that the company needs to be investigated on how it got registered in the same name as his and just adding Systems to it.
“Market Insights Tracking (Mitra) was formed in 2009 initially as a sole proprietorship until 2014 when it was incorporated as a limited liability company with first directors who were registered from then to date,” Chigoga said, adding that he is the founder and owner of the company.
“There is no partnership with Mitra System Company. I don’t even know the company’s owners and I have never met any of them before.
“At first we wanted to sue them for ‘tort of passing off’ but we thought the move would be inconsequential. I discovered it was registered after our Mitra was already registered,” he said.
Mitra Systems, a non-incorporated ICT company and its owners are Zimbabwean Martin Masawi and Robert Benimana from Rwanda and Chigoga says his company’s directors are set to engage the Registrar of Companies to establish what happened to register two different companies with same name and acronym.
“It is very surprising,” he said. “We will engage legal minds if we establish inordinate process of registration was allowed to take place when these foreign business people registered their company in our name.”
In his judgement in Lilongwe on Monday, August 23, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda ruled RBM should re-tender contracts and that the “bidding will only be open to the qualifying bidders which participated in the previous procurement proceedings” — including Mitra Systems.
The whole saga came about after RBM sued Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) for its decision to re-tender the bidding process after one of the bidding companies, Sparc Systems lodged an appeal of irregularities with PPDA.
RBM sued PPDA alongside Sparc System and Mitra System as 1st and 2nd interested party respectively.
The Court made the determination also after an allegation that bids that the review committee of received from Sparc Systems had one page maliciously removed after been presented.
Thus Sparc Systems was disqualified giving an advantage for Mitra Systems to be awarded all three Lots of the bids.
However, Sparc Systems challenged the process and further presented its case that Mitra Systems did not qualify to be awarded a contract of this nature since PPDA’s Evaluation and Qualification criteria for the bidding process requires that a bidder should have requisite experience of 5 years in supplying office machines.
In 2016, Chigoga’s Mitra won an international award for its excellence, track record and its adherence to and development of its own quality management policies.
The recognition, which is one of the biggest international recognitions for organisational quality in the world, was made by Spain-based Business Initiative Directions (BID).
Mitra, the marketing research firm based in Blantyre, specialises in helping client companies to make most important decisions in business by providing high quality, relevant and properly weighted information — which is gathered according to the highest industry standards.
In awarding the recognition, BID said Mitra was considered because the company utilises a number of techniques to gather raw information, including sending interviewers out in the field to interact with people face to face.
“Door-to-door questionnaires and interviews provide insights that only boots-on-the-ground can accomplish in Malawi, and Mitra has the gumption and expertise to ask the right questions and determine a representative sample,” BID had said.
“Many of the biggest international firms doing business in Malawi rely on Mitra for performing research in the country. Mammoth global firms such as Carlsberg, Airtel, Unilever and Coca-Cola are counted alongside some of the biggest domestic organisations such as Malswitch, National Bank of Malawi and First Merchant Bank as clients of Mitra.
“Mitra has a reputation for delighting clients and performing excellent work, and much of this is due to the firm’s dedication to developing and adhering to its quality management policies.
“The company’s quality techniques derive from its core belief that ‘highly satisfied clients are key stakeholders in the growth of the firm’, and this principle is apparent in everything that it does.
“Research teams are thoroughly trained, all information gathering is done according to the highest standards, and new research tools are thoroughly pretested by the teams, incorporating input and insights from both senior and junior researchers,” BID had said.
Chigoga has worked as a market researcher for more than 10 years, doing consultancy work with organisations from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and the USA.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :