By ThisDay Reporter Dr Harrison Mwakyembe Magufuli THE newly-appointed Minister for Works, Dr. John Magufuli, and his deputy, Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, face a tricky task of sorting out the mess at the state-run Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) as they take helm of the key government ministry. Magufuli and Mwakyembe were sworn-in along with other members of the 50-strong Cabinet on Saturday. Analysts have welcomed the match-up of the two respected MPs at the ministry, saying they are expected to bring much-needed efficiency to the roads sector. Some political commentators have dubbed the two ministers the "Dynamic Duo," due to their reputation as hard-working and vibrant politicians. The construction industry, which has a key role to play in economic development, has long been considered among Tanzania's most corrupt sectors. But Magufuli and Mwakyembe will have to look much close to home to address widespread allegations of corruption and abuse of public office at TANROADS, an executive agency under the Ministry of Works. In the new Cabinet set up, President Jakaya Kikwete split the former Ministry of Infrastructure Development to form two separate ministries -- Works and Transport. The Works Ministry has been tasked with managing the nation's roads networks and airports. One of the key challenges facing the two ministers is the controversial situation of the outgoing TANROADS chief executive officer, Ephraim Mrema. The two ministers will be inheriting problems at TANROADS left behind by past infrastructure ministers -- Andrew Chenge and most recently Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa. It is understood that TANROADS will be one of the first stops that Magufuli and Mwakyembe will make as they begin a familiarisation tour today of government agencies under their ministry. After a long and protracted row, the government finally decided to terminate the employment of the TANROADS boss with effect from November 30, this year. However, a source within government said Mrema was planning to travel to Japan on official duty as TANROADS boss in early December, several days after expiration of his contract. This means that from Wednesday this week, Mrema would be required to bow out of TANROADS after several years of allegations of corruption, abuse of public office and insubordination at the public agency. Even as Magufuli and Mwakyembe prepare to visit TANROADS headquarters in Dar es Salaam from today, reports from the agency suggest there are still swirling allegations of foul play at the agency. "The TANROADS CEO is supposed to be on his way out, but he is lobbying to extend his stay beyond November 30 -- which should be his last day in office," said an official close to the Works Ministry. "Mrema is determined to appoint his own team of senior managers just days before his exit and has altered the qualifications required for individuals to fill those posts." Well-placed sources claimed that newspaper advertisements for senior management positions at TANROADS were issued contrary to directives of the board of directors. "These senior posts at TANROADS were supposed to be filled by qualified engineers, but the qualifications were changed to allow quantity surveyors loyal to Mrema to be recruited for these key positions," said another official. Some of the posts at TANROADS advertised by Mrema include chief internal auditor, principal legal counsel, director of planning, director of projects, director of business support, director of maintenance, director of procurement and contracts and 25 regional managers. The TANROADS management has also been criticised for recently spending a staggering 600m/- to mark the agency's tenth anniversary. President Jakaya Kikwete was at one time personally drawn into the row over the alleged blatant insubordination of the TANROADS's outgoing chief against his superiors in government. This came after Mrema claimed his alleged insubordinate behaviour towards senior officials in the former Ministry of Infrastructure Development and TANROADS' board of directors was sanctioned by the president himself. According to TANROADS' controversial CEO, the President had personally authorised his decision to make senior staff changes at the state-run agency towards the end of 2009 without the approval of both the ministry and board. However, following consultations between the Chief Secretary at State House, Philemon Luhanjo, the ex-Minister for Infrastructure Development, Dr Kawambwa, and the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Omar Chambo, last November, it was established that there was no presidential seal of approval in favour of Mrema's actions. Former Vice-Chairman of TANROADS' board of directors, Dr Samuel Nyantahe, was forced to ask for the intervention of Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda in the situation. "...the situation at the agency is very grave as there is a reign of terror ... urgent government intervention is needed to forestall further deterioration and decadence," said Nyantahe in a letter to the PM. In the April 12, 2010 letter seen by THISDAY, Nyantahe explained to the PM how Mrema instituted controversial staff changes at TANROADS without following proper authorising channels. He informed Pinda that there have been numerous staff complaints against the "deteriorating working climate at the agency, drastic fall in productivity and failure of effective action by the parent ministry." "How can a public service official (Mrema) exhibit blatant insubordination behaviour and get away with it?" asked the vice-chairman of TANROADS' board. "How does a system continue to condone the actions of a public official who refuses to obey lawful orders on the pretext of having been so instructed by the Head of State, even after it is subsequently proved there were no such directives from the Head of State?" The TANROADS' board of directors noted that Ministry of Infrastructure Development seems to be somehow unable to take any action against Mrema. It remains to be seen how Magufuli and Mwakyembe will deal with the mess at TANROADS as the agency's CEO is on the tail end of his tenure of employment.