Company frustrated by slow progress of the National Integrated Justice Information System

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A Joint Venture contracting company which is developing the National Integrated Justice Information System (NIJIS) is complaining that the government has been slow to finish reforms which are affecting its development. They want the customization finished faster. The local partner of the JV Africom Technologies stressed that the finalization of the National ID is also necessary for the highly expected system to operate effectively.
It was back in April the project was signed between the Office of the Attorney General and Africom Technologies, ISYX Technologies and ALROWAD IT at a price of USD 14 million. The JV which is in the process of receiving 10 percent of the total payment says the delay in the precondition means the project will slow down and hinder their business.
“We deposited USD three million to the government both for performance and advanced security and we are expecting a USD 1.5 million advance payment,” said Baheru Zeynu. “The project will be delayed a few months based on the current status and if the government can’t finalize the preconditions both our business and the peoples’ demand for justice will be affected.”
With a life span of 28 months, the integrated system will enable the federal and regional institutions under the justice umbrella including police, courts, prison and documents registration. The companies are expected to work on the maintenance, support, and training of the system after the implantation is finalized.
The JV that beat out seven global companies, including ZTE and Huawei, is composed of two Asian companies which built and operate the Judicial Data System in Dubai. Alrowad is the company which runs the Social Security Service in Dubai.
The JV also finished the gap analysis and is waiting for the government to hand over its workflows to go to the next stage of customization, according to Baheru. The companies apparently have 20 features in their past experience and it only needs to be adapted to the Ethiopian feature.
The Office of Attorney General established technical committees to finalize the demands, according to Zenabu, PR directorate Director of the Office.
Capital’s repeated effort to obtain a comment from the IT Directorate Director at the Office, monitoring the project, bore no fruit.
When the system is completed it is expected to contain the entire history of the justice records in the city. This would include: finger prints, the medical history, educational background and details in the crime record. Currently the justice sector stakeholders are performing their jobs separately in terms of data and that is said to affect the rights of the cities. A sector analysis revealed that there were cases where prisoners spent additional time in prison because of a misinterpreted release date.
The OAG claimed the delay was created because of the payment constraints as a result of the lack of necessary conditions by the office before the singing of the contract.
“As the payment is going to be made from the capital budget Ministry of Finance asked for a letter from the consulting company insuring the appropriateness,” said Fantaye Kumsa, Head of the IT Directorate at the office. “But after long debates the Ministry agreed to pay the advance payment to the companies referring only to the contract. Also INSA was hired as a consultant to look over the project but now we agreed that no payment will be made to them and we are finalizing an external consultant.”
Establishing the Project office which will look on to the inception report of the JV took time and it is looking to the report to send its comment next week, according to Fantye. She also stated that the issue of the national ID will be solved before the finalization of the NIJIS as the respective Ministry is handling the issue critically.
“We will accelerate the procedures starting next week as most of the constraints are moved away, expect for the foreign exchange issue which we will expect to consider in advance,” she said.