WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION HOTS UP

Attorney General Andrew Chenge told parliament recently that Tanzania had declared war against corruption and there was no way in which it would go back on this. But, a year after the publication of the ‘Warioba Report’ on corruption in December 1996 (TA No 57) questions are being asked about when its recommendations are going to be implemented and what is going to happen to those persons alleged in the report to have been corrupt.

For example, the ‘East African’ quoted outgoing American Ambassador Brady Anderson as saying that in 1995 about $80 million of government revenue had been lost but the culprits had not been brought to book. Visiting former World Bank President Robert MacNamara said that he had been shocked by the current level of graft. Swedish Ambassador Thomas Olof Palme spoke of corruption being taken lightly and Finnish Ambassador Hari Rantakari said that, before discussing long-term development plans, this issue of corruption had to be tackled. In Parliament several CCM MP’s joined opposition members in expressing shock in early November when they heard from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that in the 1994/95 fiscal year some Shs 12 billion had been ‘spent unvouched, misused or outwardly stolen’.

But EU Resident Representative Peter Beck said that he believed that President Mkapa was determined to combat corruption but needed support from society and the civil service. And Principal Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bernard Mchomvu said that the graft claims had been exaggerated by the media; the government-owned Daily News went further and described the diplomat’s stand as ‘a crusade against the government and a lack of respect for an independent nation’.

Judge Joseph Warioba himself is reported to be convinced that there is now enough evidence to try the suspects but Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye told parliament that the government would not be driven by internal or external pressure. The rule of law would prevail in determining corruption cases.

PRESIDENT MKAPA TAKES ACTION
President Mkapa is reported to have retired 122 corruption-linked officials and, according to the East African (November 24) has declared his intention to strengthen Tanzania’s Prevention of Corruption Bureau. He had been promised foreign aid for this he said. He was thinking about appointing an independent prosecutor for the Bureau who would concentrate on corruption cases and thus avoid some of the delay which has been incurred when files have been passed between the Bureau and the Director of Public Prosecutions. In November MP’s passed new legislation giving the Bureau powers of arrest, search and detention.

Following the Warioba Report President Mkapa had appointed a task force which had completed its work in May 1997 and submitted its files, including some mentioned in the Report, to the Prevention of Corruption Bureau. In a front page article on October 19 the Sunday News reported that the Bureau’s Director General Mr Anatoly Kamazina had announced that more than 200 people had been questioned between December 1996 and May 1997. Major General Kamazina had sent a number of the files to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); some of these had been returned with a request for more evidence; some of the documentary evidence on others almost filled his office he said. It was understood that the files of certain senior personnel in the then Ministry of Communications and Works, mentioned in the Report, had not been sent back by the DPP. But the Director was quoted in the Daily News as complaining that it was the Corruption Prevention Bureau which was delaying prosecutions. One of the files which lacked material evidence had been that involving the former Minister of Communications Transport and Works, his then PS, the then Director of Roads and a road engineer.

Meanwhile, certain people are already before the courts on charges of corruption. According to the Daily News the Director General of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has been charged with six counts of corruption including possession of two houses and $6,000 in cash. The Director of the Mwanza Municipal Council has been charged with owning property worth Shs 93 million which was alleged to be beyond his level of income (Daily News, October 30). Three Bank of Tanzania officials were also in court in late October charged with siphoning off Shs 136 million. On October 13 the East African reported that the General Manager of the Sugar Development Corporation had been sacked by President Mkapa following allegations of mismanagement leading to the loss of Shs 44.4 million.

The Council of (Zambian and Tanzanian) Ministers has dissolved the top management of the TAZARA RAILWAY AUTHORITY. The Tanzanian Minister of Communications and Transport told workers that the company’s liquidity position had reached a stage which would have warranted a declaration of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, former Lands Minister Edward Lowassa has been awarded Shs l million ($1,587) by the newly formed Media Council (a voluntary body set up by journalists as a watchdog to improve media standards) against the newspaper Heko which had published a front page article saying that he had been named in the Warioba report. The editor of the paper said that his staff had misinterpreted the Report and that Mr Lowassa’s complaints were genuine. Former Communications and Works Minister Nalaila Kiula has complained in parliament that he had been condemned in the Warioba report without being heard – the Commission had been malicious and vindictive he said. A CCM MP Mr Kitwana Kondo also complained in parliament that Bureau officers had confiscated his car. Attorney General Andrew Chenge said he sympathised but that the MP should appeal to the responsible legal organs.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.