THE Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) occupies a very important place in the country’s governance system and its operations are supposed to be above board.
But for an organisation that is supposed to pride itself on transparency, we find the FIC wanting in its operations.
For the past few weeks, the Daily Nation has been running a story on the organisation’s US$2.5 million it paid to a contractor for the installation of the Intelligence Management System.
The Daily Nation has now learnt that the FIC in fact paid US$18 million and not the US$2.5 million that we initially reported.
The contractor has simply vanished without the software being supplied.
FIC officials have been playing “hide and seek” with our reporters, promising to issue a comprehensive statement on the matter.
They keep promising that they would issue a statement “tomorrow” which never comes.
According to an invoice dated Tuesday, June 27, 2017 captured by the Daily Nation, the FIC and the named company agreed that the former be given 25 percent of the project value of US$10 million which was the total amount for the project.
FIC is said to have paid the company US$2.5 million for the works but that they disappeared without conducting the said works.
The FIC has however allegedly paid US$8 million more for maintenance and support of the “fake” system bringing the total as of 2021 to US$18 million paid in full.
FIC is said to have paid the whole US$10 million in 2017 and they have been paying 20 percent of the contract amount annually as support fee.
The FIC owes it to the nation to give its side of the story. It should simply explain to the public whether indeed this transaction took place or whether it is fake news.
If indeed there was no such transaction, the Daily Nation as a newspaper acting in the public interest will tender an apology.
What is even more shocking about the whole transaction is that the Information and Communication Technology at the FIC did not have a say in the project.
The ICT says there was no justification supported by a thorough business case to install such a system as per the ICT Governance principals at the Centre.
FIC allegedly already has a powerful system which was bought in 2013 called the “IBM i2 Intelligence System” which is the same system used in western countries but which it abandoned.
The bottom line though is that the FIC chiefs under the Director-General Ms Mary Chirwa must live up to the tenets they demand from individuals and organisations they probe for alleged financial transgressions and shady dealings.
The amount involved is not one that could just be written off as another transaction gone wrong.
Let them tell the public the truth and let the matter rest.