Illegal Contract With Computer Company Suspended in Mozambique

Computing

The Mozambican Labour Ministry has suspended an apparently illegal contract between the National Social Security Institute (INSS) and the company MOZ IT Ltd, which had been hired to computerize the INSS data. The case came to light last month when Labour Minister Helena Taipo visited the INSS central offices and found dozens of MOZ IT workers there without any legal contract.

In all there were 150 MOZ IT workers involved in computerizing the INSS data. But such arrangements between state bodies and private companies need the approval of the Administrative Tribunal, and this had not been obtained.

According to Paulo Mutombene, the National Director of Strategic Planning and Statistics in the Labour Ministry, cited in the Maputo daily "Noticias", a team of investigators sent to the INSS discovered that a contract had been signed in December 2007 - but some MOZ IT staff had been working at the INSS since August.

On the day the contract was signed, the INSS transferred to the account of the MOZ IT representative, Rufino Licucu, the sum of 3.8 million meticais (about 157,000 US dollars). "It's not clear what this money was for", said Mutombene.

Worse still, MOZ IT does not have a valid licence for the services it is providing. It has only a Class Nine licence - which is fine for companies that are selling furniture, and computer accessories. But it does not cover the digitalization services that MOZ IT apparently sold to the INSS. As a result of these irregularities, the Labour Ministry is recommending that the Administrative Tribunal should not validate any contract between the INSS and MOZ IT.

The MOZ IT staff were receiving their wages from the INSS, even though they are not INSS employees. But the INSS has not paid them for the last two months - and so they went on strike on Wednesday. According to "Noticias", they staged a demonstration outside the INSS premises, and told reporters that Licuco had disappeared. Nonetheless "Noticias" managed to contact him - but he told the reporter not to investigate his company. "It's better not to stick your nose in this matter", he said before slamming the phone down.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique