Malawi’s suspended IFMIS back in operation

Malawi Government is set to resume use of the suspended payment method, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), which was closed last month after some cunning civil servants turned it into a source of their prosperity.

The illegal ‘unlocking’ of the system resulted in the pilferage of more than K110 billion at the government seat, Capital Hill, but the Ministry of Finance said the loopholes have been sealed following the installation of the system’s new version.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Nations Msowoya said the new version, which was recommended by software makers Softech, had been on testing last Friday, the day the system was initially planned to resume its operations.

Last week, the spokesperson said government had set up a draft action plan to deal with the loopholes in financial management which would see resumption of IFMIS operations by November 1.

Msowoya: Troubed IFIMS back online with new version

Msowoya, however, said “cleaning up of the system is an ongoing process so we cannot say it is fully ready. We did a test run on Friday and it will continue up to Sunday.”

He also parried away fears that the installation process might have disrupted government financial transactions.

Currently, all government financial transactions are being processed manually, a development that has resulted in delays of payments for goods and services as well as salaries for civil servants.

The spokesperson also indicated that the server would not interrupt the work of forensic auditors as they will easily be able to retrieve any data they want.

He said Softech has also put in place a resident adviser but government was in the process to recruit a full-time ICT security officer. Softech is currently doing that role.

The IFMIS was shut down on September 16 to enable computer experts to extract information which once compiled will be submitted to consultants to conduct an independent review of exactly went wrong.

Msowoya said there were a number of activities that have been lined up on short, medium and long term to completely address the IFMIS problem.

He said government had engaged a system supplier to implement the security recommendations and enhance system controls and the work started on October 15 and is expected to finish in three months times.

Government implemented an Epicor-based IFMIS in 2005 through Softech using a platform that was in Tanzania.

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