Swiss Ambassador Olivier Chave has revealed that the Swiss National Bank have found certain ‘shadowy individuals’ who have spirited TShs303.7 billion ($178 million) out of Tanzania to what were described as ‘Alpine offshore havens with a reputation for secrecy.’ During a courtesy call on CHADEMA Deputy leader, Zitto Kabwe, in January this year, he said that if Tanzanian officials provided evidence that the money had been fraudulently obtained, the Swiss national authorities would wire it straight back to Tanzania. “We have done that several times – we once returned cash stashed in our banks by former Nigerian president Sani Abacha,” he said, and added that Tanzania could also recover back taxes on the money.
Needless to say this soon created a storm in Parliament. Mr Kabwe said he thought that the Tanzanian authorities did not really want to get the money back. The Kigoma North MP then tabled a private motion proposing the formation of a select committee to probe the matter, but the motion was rejected. According to the Citizen, MPs began to sling accusations and there was apparently a threat that Mr Kabwe would name and shame the thirteen individuals allegedly involved.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda brought the debate to an abrupt end with the assertion: “Government will use its organs to establish the truth, with assistance from international investigators.”
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda was adamant that the issue be handled carefully because it was “sensitive.” He assured the public that government would do all it could to expose the faces behind the Swiss billions. Anti-corruption chief Edward Hosea said his office would do whatever it could to figure out whose cash was hidden in Swiss bank accounts.