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* According to Mmegi.bw, Irish consultants IDI bid with the local KPMG for the second phase of a multi-million pound contract for Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and won. Good news you might think for both consultancy practices. Not so for the local KPMG. IDI promptly poached its Managing Director Siobhan Taylor (an Irish national) leaving KPMG out in the clod for the second phase of the contract.

According to KPMG, the two parties worked together on the first phase of the project, which cost 1.3 million Irish pounds—about P10 million - which was completed in March last year before the price was "irregularly" inflated to P 62 million.

"IDI told us that now they have our then managing director they no longer need us. And in May /June 2002 IDI was awarded a new three-year contract by BTC totalling P 62 million. This new contract was negotiated under different terms of reference, which was not re-tendered," sources said.

The involvement of the Irish firm in BTC has caused local controversy, especially after its head Noel Herrity was appointed BTC chief executive in place of Mojaphoko.

Contacted to comment on the KPMG allegations, Herrity said that the IDI/KPMG partnership was only for the initial strategic review contract. But BTC board chairman, Wilfred Mandlebe has urged KPMG to sue IDI if they have grounds they feel they have been cheated. "If they feel cheated they must sue IDI. That is what I think should happen," he said. He defended the decision of the board to hike the consultancy prices saying that "consultancies of this sought do not come cheap". However, he conceded that they could have advertised the second phase of the consultancy like they did the first one."If it were possible we would have had to re-tender the project but we did not find it proper because IDI was doing the strategic plan," Mandlebe said. "We thought that there is always room for the contract to be re-negotiated," he said, adding that, "had we gone the other way, that would have involved a preliminary contract and then tendering again after establishing the magnitude of the problem".

http//www.mmegi.bw

* Unsubstantiated rumours are reaching us that Augustine Cheserem, Managing Director of Kenya Telkom may soon make way for another...

* Distinguished member of the Tanzanian ICT community Juma Chimbongwe (usually known as JC) died on 7 January and was laid to rest at the Sinza Graveyard in Dar es Salaam.

* Speaking during iWay’s second anniversary, Albertus Aochamub, General Manager said:"We hope that a trust fund will be established to subsidise rural Internet access as the country moves towards narrowing the digital divide".