Months after some civil society organisations (CSOs) and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called for the dismissal of Accountant General Chrighton Chimombo, government has moved the officer to the yet-to-be-rolled out National Planning Commission.
The CSOs and PAC called for Chimombo’s dismissal for ignoring suggestions to restart the bidding process in the long-running procurement process of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) software.
But Chimombo yesterday said his relocation has nothing to do with the Ifmis procurement, saying he is working in the civil service on contract.
He said: “I had a contract with government for three years. My contract was to end this year, so I have received a letter that my contract has been renewed, but I have been relocated to the National Planning Commission. I haven’t been fired as some people are putting it. I work on contract basis.”
Chimombo was contracted as a financial specialist for three years in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development where he was appointed Accountant General after serving two years. He has worked as Accountant General for a year.
Reacting to Chimombo’s redeployment, Human Rights Defenders Coalition chairperson Timothy Mtambo, who is also executive director for Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR)—one of the CSOs that pushed for the officer’s dismissal, said the move by government is questionable.
He said: “We echoed the call by PAC and we joined the voices so that something should be done on the Ifmis transactions. If government has done it [the redeployment] to cover a problem, then we are not doing anything as a country.”
PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said his committee was yet to officially get information; hence, not in a position to comment.
PAC suggested resumption of the bidding process in the software’s procurement after many stakeholders suspected corruption, questioning government’s rationale in settling for the third and more expensive bidder, who was demanding K10.3 billion ($14 million), with a recurring cost of K2.2 billion ($3 million) every three months.
About 12 firms expressed interest in the 2015 bidding process that saw the lowest bidder charging K1.1 billion ($7 million).
But Chimombo refused to resign over the matter, saying the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) had issued a no-objection to the winning bid after being satisfied with the submission from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. n