CES assembly to debate on ‘controversial’ e-Government deal

By William Madouk Garang

The Central Equatoria State transitional legislative assembly will today deliberate on a ‘controversial’ contract of e-Government and e-Tax system that was awarded to a foreign firm known as Modern Approach Company (MAC) two years ago.

This was following the adjournment of the sitting on Monday, after the three ministers who were summoned to explain the deal failed to unveil in time the profile, and articles of association listing the company’s shareholders.

On October 5, the August House summoned three ministers to explain a controversial E-government Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they signed with a private company – MAC.

The summoned ministers before the August house were the State Minister of cabinet affairs, Minister of information and communication and the minister of finance, planning and investment.

MP Elizabeth moved the motion that the debate should be adjourned for Tuesday because according to her, lawmakers can’t sit and wait for production of papers yet the summoned ministers were given ample times.

“These documents were given to ministers; I think it’s now three weeks or more than three weeks for them to answer the questions. One month without answer, is this fair? I now move a motion that this sitting be adjourned until tomorrow”.

“We are asking for the document of the company, Hon Speaker, the profile of the company articles of association entailing the shareholders of the company. We have not yet gotten these documents. I rise here to second the motion raised by Hon Elizabeth” another MP Jackline seconded the motion.

That prompted the CES Speaker, Peter Wani Kulang to adjourn the session till Tuesday morning.

“We finally got the document that you requested so it now going to be sent for production and probably we will have it tomorrow and we will proceed from there. Now I adjourn this sitting until tomorrow,” Speaker Kulang ruled the motion.

Addressing the journalists after adjournment, the Chairperson of Specialized Committee for Information at Assembly, James Modi Lomindi said the sitting was postponed because of some missing papers.

“The e-Government system is one of the most important gadgets that Republic of South Sudan and CES in particular is very much interested in, such that it could be able to determine its strength of revenue collections,” said Lomindi.

“however, this afternoon members of the house because they have not gotten all the papers in front of  them, they have requested for the adjournment of the sitting of this very important investigation in regards to the concerned ministries based on e-Tax system the government wants to embark on,” he added.

MP Lomindi assured the public that all members of the state revitalized assembly would continue to scrutinize, scan, investigate and ask for more details about the importance of e-Government and e-Tax system.

In November 2021, the government of Central Equatoria State signed MoU with MAC Company to design, establish operation and maintenance of e-Government system for the state.

According to the MoU, the e-Government system would set-up an on-line digital platform for on time payment of taxes by tax payers reducing challenges faced by tax institutions within the economic cluster.

MoU quoted that Central Equatoria State government shall take 70% share ratio from revenue generation while Modern Approach Company (MAC) goes with 30% shares of the revenue generation.

That baffled parliamentarians because the distribution become opposite  with separate deal that subjected MAC to claim the lion share of eighty percent 80% shares of the service revenue while State government takes only twenty percent 20%. Yet according to answers provided by ministers yesterday, MAC was rendered 80% because they solely funded the projects that required gadgets to migrate from analogue to digital for period of time before it will be readjusted.  

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