Macra board divided over $13m upgrade on ‘spy machine’: Should poor Malawi pay that?

The Malawi Communications regulatory Authority (Macra) board is divided over the software upgrade of the Consolidated ICT regulatory management systems (Cirms) machine otherwise known as the ‘spy machine’ which will cost US$13, 871.969.

Macra boss Kumbatira: Spy machine upgrade divided board

Macra boss Kumbatira: Spy machine upgrade divided board

The controversial machine was bought from US firm Agilis International at a whopping price of US$6.9 million four years ago.

During a board meeting this week, Macra members had a heated debate on the matter and rejected to pay for the software upgrade, saying it would only make sense to buy a new machine altogether.

However, former Macra boss Charles Nsaliwa, who was in charge of the regulator when they purchased the machine, is said to be under pressure from State authorities to ensure the decision to pay Agilis International Inc should be rubberstamped by the board.

Economist Andrew Kumbatira is the new Macra boss.

Some members of the board towing the governing party line supported the move but the majority rejected, according to insiders.

“There is powerful hand behind this. They want the money payment to Agilis International Inc to be fast-tracked. This is a new invented cashgate,” said one of the board members (name shielded).

There have been growing fears from the public that the equipment is expected to be snooping people’s phone records and emails but Macra insists the system will put to end different forms of telecommunication fraud including revenue under-declaration by operators.

The court cautioned Macra against abused of the facility.

According to MACRA, the idea to purchase CIRMS came about after consumers in the country complained of poor services, such as calls often being short-lived, while the tariffs announced were not the actual tariffs being charged.

MACRA was failing to verify the tariff fraud charges, even when as a regulator it is their duty is to ensure that there is fairness for both operators and consumers.

Apart from its core duties, the ‘spy machine’ is now being used as “money making” device for those in authority.

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nchito za manja ako charles nsaliwa zikukutsata. lero usakane m’mesa unapakulapo pogula spy machine iwe

Kulibe kantu

Can I appeal to Nyasa editors to be rejecting such articles or sending them back for more information? This is a rumour. A credible article quotes a source. You cannot have the whole story not quoting anyone.

Secondly, the media has been misleading people by calling it a spy machine. In fact, it the media that popularized that it is a spy ma machine. Please do a bit a research. If a reporter does not understand how the machine works how will readers understand it?

DPP is using this machine to steal money from govt. In the first place the DPP-led govt was wrong to buy this machine. It would have bought water pumps to pump water from Lake Nyasa and other water bodies to end reliance on erratic rain-fed agriculture. When maize wilts 500 meters away from the lake, does that not make DPP govt think that the spy machine is a poor choice? Between tele-communication and hunger, which one does DPP prioritize? Do people tele-communicate when they have no food to eat? Stupid DPP. Now, if it did not occur to DPP that… Read more »

The author of this article needs to get his/her facts right.
In the first place Nsaliwa is not PS at the ministry of Information neither does he sit on the board.
The upgrade is not coming at US$13million but this the price if the system was to be procured today. That is MACRA will be required to pay the difference of US$13million and US$6 million
The upgrade is not for software alone but for both software and hardware bringing in more functionalities that were not there before including better processing power.

the poorest country in the world
the poorest country in the world

the poorest country in the world

Harris Batson

Good idea comeup


The issue here is about money. Buying machine at 6,9million and upgrade at a cost of 13,9million ? Hahahaha. Upgrading kuposa mtengo wogulira.kk DPP mwamaliza za relief mwayamba iyi latest tsopano.kkk

Max Nsani
so, let me understand this. We bought this machine for USD6million and we want to upgrade it at twice the cost of purchase? Are we so stupid as to be this careless with money that we do not seem to have? We just had a massive flood and the most the government could raise was MK1billion, and we have some MK6Billion somewhere to upgrade a machine we bought for MK2.5billion? Can we have an a report of what we have gained from this machine so far? Can parliament sit down and discuss, scrutinise and call the MACRA people to explain… Read more »

While on the same it has come to my attention that some unscrupulous members of the public are conniving with some staff at Airtel/Tnm to produce call logs without the concert of the owner or authority from the court. they are paid some money by these evil minds.

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