PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION

The Guardian reported on July 2 that the Prevention of Corruption Bureau (PCB) was investigating Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye to determine if he had been involved in corruption. This followed allegations of corruption leveled by Democratic Party (DP) chairman Reverend Christopher Mtikila. However, State Minister in the President’s Office (Good Governance) Wilson Masilingi told parliament that allegations leveled against the Prime Minister were not sufficient to make him resign. He said that if such flimsy accusations were taken seriously then the whole cabinet could be asked to resign as Mtikila could keep on asking for resignations in order to give the investigating body freedom to work on any allegations he made. He asked the parliamentarians to use their constitutional right to impeach the Prime Minister if they thought they had sufficient evidence. Masilingi gave one example to prove Sumaye’s innocence saying claims that he had shares in ‘Africa One’ airline had been proved untrue.

On August 7 Rai reported that the Government had ordered the PCB to stop investigating the PM. The paper quoted ‘reliable reports’ as saying that the order was from high up the leadership hierarchy on grounds that Mtikila’s allegations were too political and lacked truth.

The Guardian reported that on August 6 President Mkapa had ‘blasted corrupt academicians and researchers who produced half-cooked research findings to please the donors financing their work. In a speech to the ‘Southern African Forum Against Corruption’, the President said that like political corruption, intellectual corruption was more dangerous than other forms such as bureaucratic corruption. “We have academics and researchers who produce research findings or evaluation reports to the tune picked by the payer. And sometimes government decisions, in either donor or aid-receiving countries, are based on such research findings or evaluation reports ….. Plagiarism in academic life, half-truths in the media, selective presentation and extrapolation of facts, are all in the broader realm of corruption. And what is worse is that they corrupt the mind,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PCB has uncovered a tax evasion scam of 47.3bn/­committed by giant oil marketing companies between 1996 and 1997 who had avoided paying duties and plunged the government into a massive revenue loss amounting to about 83.3bn/-. The PCB also revealed huge tax evasion amounting to billions of shillings involving dubious importation, mainly from Kenya, of khanga & vitenge, tyres, cooking oil, and dry cells (batteries). Through either non-declaration or using fake documents, the Government had lost some Shs 10 billion. The Tanzania revenue Authority (TRA) and the Kenya Revenue Authority were working together to curb tax evasion resulting from undeclared goods passing through their common borders -Guardian.

After the new managers of TANESCO on July 22, disconnected power supplies to the whole of Zanzibar -see above -a shadow opposition minister in the Zanzibar House of Assembly complained that Zanzibar was part of the Union and that TANESCO should not have taken the drastic step of disconnecting power and the Minister should apologise. “TANESCO should concede that they are wrong. They had many alternatives to remind Zanzibar to settle its dues. And Union leaders should have criticised the power authority for its hasty decision,” she said. Minister Yona replied that the TANESCO management had the right to collect debts and nobody would be spared.

For 12 years Dar es Salaam businessman Devram Valambhia has been locked in a legal wrangle with the Bank of Tanzania over the payment of Shs 55 billion for 800 vehicles and military equipment he supplied to the Government. Finally on July 17 this year the High Court of Tanzania dismissed for lack of merit, an application filed by the Bank seeking leave to set aside a court order requiring the Bank to pay him. Judge Salum Massati also ordered the Bank’s Governor to appear in court to show cause why he had not paid the money to Valambhia earlier. The Governor did not appear and later it was stated that the Government did not have the money to pay. Valambhia’s advocates recently told the court that they had secret documents showing communications between the then Finance Minister, the late Kighoma Malima, and the firm; Valambhia had been arrested and detained for five months without bail. The High Court was told on August 12 that corruption might have played a role deterring some authorities in both the Government and the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) from paying the Shs 55bn/ debt to Valambhia. Counsel for Valambia, Moses Maira and Mabere Marando, made the submission to the court in respect of an order of the court to the Governor of the BoT, to show cause why he should not go to jail for failure to appear when summoned. A decision of the court is due in October.

The Reverend Dr. Fidon Mwombeki from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ECLT) has challenged the Government to name the people who signed the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) agreement (see above) so that they can be investigated further for causing hardships to Tanzanians. He said the public would like to know their level of education and if the signatories understood what they were signing -Majira.

Ame Mpungwe, former Tanzania Ambassador to Pretoria, has denied accusations that he sold his country. He said he was neither the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) nor was he one of the PSRC commissioners. He said that anyone having the post of ambassador was merely a glorified messenger. Mpungwe’s defense came amid accusations that he might be the one who had helped many South African companies to acquire privatized Tanzanian enterprises -Mtanzania.

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