South African company, Fischer Consultants, which was contracted by the Malawi government to develop the Malawi Traffic Information System (MalTIS), is reported to have outsourced another South African developer to assist it fine tune the system.
Fischer Consultants was working with a Malawian company, Motor Vehicle Spares and Accessories (Movesa) — as an outsource partner — but this firm disclosed in June that its contract with Fischer was terminated.
This came to surface when we reported that Fischer Consultants was still clinging on to the system having failed to meet three deadlines since 2018 to handover the system to the Malawi government.
Reports reaching us from reliable sources indicate that soon after Fischer Consultants was given the contract some four years ago to develop the MalTIS, it faced some challenges and outsourced to one of the country’s top ICT companies to assist in redesigning it.
But soon after being assisted, Fischer dumped the outsource company and engaged Movesa — which our sources indicate that it has some Mozambique connection.
After we reported that Fischer Consultants was failing to hand over the system to its client (the Ministry of Transport & Public Works and the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS), our sources indicate that the South African company has now outsourced a compatriot system develop, called Magna Tec to further assist in redesigning the system.
When dug deeper using Google search system — in liaison with sources at information & Communication Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM) — it indicates that Magna Tec does not exist in Malawi or elsewhere but Magna Tech — which is an USA company.
Other search results through Google on Magna as a technology system developers emerge as Magna BC — a South African company, which points to be part of Fischer Consultants — or owned by the same as according to our ITC sources.
Our sources indicate that all searches keep bouncing back on Magna BC as being the outsource Fischer has hooked on board — whose addresses are at 54 Bismarck Street, Windhoek in Namibia as headquarters and Delta Bldg 471, Monica Rd, Lynnwood, Pretoria, Gauteng in South Africa. Phone contact is +27 12 348 3488.
On its profile, Magna BC says it is a consultancy focusing on systems design, project management & education as well training & development.
The profile also says it does industrial engineering and business administration, electronic engineering, civil engineering, statistics, computer science, full spectrum of management sciences, psychology, education and training, and other social disciplines.
There was total silence from one of Magna BC’s officials whom we contacted through email address, [email protected] to confirm if indeed they have been outsourced by Fischer Consultants.
Even DRTSS new spokesperson Ganizani Liwewe kept stalling us to confirm the development by continually saying he was still liaising with the authorities and promised to revert us early last week as some of them had not been in the office the previous week.
Stakehokder sources suspect Fischer Consultants is keeping the Malawi road traffic authorities at ransom by clinging on to the system in order to prolong the process and rip off the government.
Our sources further indicate that there is no local support on the MalTIS and that just a fortnight ago, the system went down for the whole day which forced Fischer to ask its stakeholders to be sending them videos to check what issues were onsite that delayed the systems to be running.
Malawian garages that were outsourced by DRTSS to carry out motor vehicle inspections are aggrieved that they are being billed by Fischer Consultants yet they met all requirements — at huge costs — for them to freely access the system.
Our sources also accuse Movesa of having monopoly in the motor vehicle business as initially it was the only firm that the government gave a contract to embosse vehicle registration plates.
However, former Ministry of Transport spokesperson, Andrew Mthiko — who has been recently replaced by Liwewe — had indicated in June that currently there are more number plate embosser companies in the country, with two licenced as blank number plate importers.
But the stakeholders still express dissatisfaction with Movesa, indicating that the registration plates it was using were substandard, which fade away due to sunlight heat — yet Malawi Bureau of Standards certified them fit.
What was raised as a matter of great concern at a stakeholder consultative meeting as a conflict of interest in the outsourcing of vehicle inspection services — held on March 8, 2016 at the Ministry of Transport — has now come to pass as the local garages are being billed by Fischer to access the MalTIS.
According to the minutes we have in possession from that stakeholder consultative meeting, red flags of conflict of interest were raised way back in 2016 over Movesa and Fischer Consulting as regards to Auto Tech, a Lilongwe garage which is owned by Movesa.
Autotech was given license as an outsource for motor vehicle inspection services yet it had just been operational after two years yet the requirement to be granted licences by DRTSS is that a garage should have been in operational for not less than five years.
From the minutes, the stakeholders were of the strong belief that there was conflict of interest on the part of Auto Tech to be granted licence to operate as a vehicle inspection garage because the owners of the company also own Movesa.
However, when contacted in June this year, owner of Movesa, Moshin Salim distanced his company from the MalTIS system, saying the logistics partnership he had with Fischer Consortium ended last year.
A week ago Salim responded when we contacted him to explain if Auto Tech is also being billed to access MalTIS since Movesa’s partnership with Fischer was terminated, saying in what seemed to be a cagey response: “We pay for any services provided by the consultants.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :