15 April 2018

Ethiopia: Trio Tie Up to Digitise Judiciary, Executive

A joint venture (JV) of the three technology companies won the right to integrate the systems of the Office of the Attorney General, regional and federal courts, police and prison administration for 15 million dollars.

Alrowad IT Solutions, ISYX Technologies and Africom Technologies, are the companies awarded for the first phase of the project which is fully funded by the government. The companies signed the agreement with the Office last Thursday, April 12, 2018, at the premises of the Office located on Haile Gebresellasie Avenue.

The companies will use Virtual Private Networks (VPN), a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, to carry out the project. Expected to be operational within two years, the project will enable the institutions' transferring, storing and ability to access data electronically with its 21 systems.

The second and the third phases, which will be auctioned soon to hire companies, will add 20 more systems. The system will entirely replace the current traditional means of transferring documents and data through postal services.

"It will solve the long-lasted complaints about the accessibility and exchange of data between the judiciary and the executive," said Mehibuba Adem, deputy attorney general who signed the contract on behalf of the Office.

The Information Network Security Agency (INSA), a consultant for the project, prepared the terms of reference for the procurement that took almost three months. From the 30 companies who bought the bid document, only seven returned their technical and financial proposals, including ZTE Corporation, Techmahindra, Asseco Group, Tecno Brain Ethiopia and Huawei Technologies. And the JV of the three won the bid after making the least offer of 14.9 million dollars.

Only Asseco Group, a federation of companies engaged in information technology based in Poland, joined the financial with the JV companies who won the bid. The company offered a payment that was 25.1 million dollars higher for the project.

The two partners ISYX and Alrowad, install and operate major governmental databases in the Arab Emirates, specifically judicial data systems in Dubai. Alrowad runes the Identification Card system, a.k.a social security number, for the Dubai city which holds personal information of every resident.

The new system is planning to use WeredaNet, a system that links all administrative units in 611 weredas, regional and federal government offices across the country. The system will notify police to take the person in custody to court after 48 hours, reminds the release date of prisoners and court schedules. Data from the federal and regional Vital Events Registration Agency and Documents Authentication & Registration Agency will be feed to the system.

"We will not use Internet network for security reasons," said Beheru Zeyenu, CEO of the Africom Technologies, a local company founded in 2004 and developed the one-stop shop portal for the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT) and a similar project at the Ethio-ICT village.

The companies will install two recovery houses that will also be used as a centre for the recovery and as a backup of data. One of them will be located in the Lideta court's premises while the other will be placed anonymously and controlled by the INSA. The agreement includes training, service and maintenance during the lifetimes of the software.

"Beyond our certification of Cyber-security, we brought a system that had its penetration tested," said Patric Osta, executive director of Alrowad.

"Another system which will integrate the national ID of residents, has to be installed to make this system effective," said Beheru. "If someone commits a crime in one town, that person will be traced centrally or from anywhere."

Henock Efrem, an IT Expert and academician for almost a decade, recommends that the companies send their ethical hackers to check the level of strength the walls of the software has on a regular base after the installation.

"Once you enter the cyber world no one is safe, that is the a principle," Henock Efrem, an IT Expert and Academician for almost a decade said. "Therefore continuous and regular supervision of the network is mandatory."

The first phase of the surveillance processing unit will be installed, which will process data collected from surveillance cameras that will be installed across the country and satellites directing it to police or traffic police.

To activate it, in the second phase the Office will announce a tender and hire companies who are going to supply hardware, such as the surveillance cameras.

The Office will announce consecutive bids for the reaming phases, according to Mehibuba.

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