Parliamentary committee cites unrealistic expenditure,violation of procurement Act TCRA headquarters The Parliamentary Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) yesterday refused to discuss the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) financial report, citing unrealistic expenditures and violation of the Public Procurement Act in financial year 2010/2011. Committee members expressed concern over TCRAs spending of 4.1bn/- on in-house training and special allowances, of which 2.2bn/- was spent for training three members of staff abroad and the remaining amount went to pay allowances. The committee also questioned the increment of 4bn/- in the construction of the TCRA headquarters building along Sam Nujoma Road which was contrary to the 36bn/-set by the consultant. Upon completion of the building the cost had increased to 40bn/-, the committee noted. We cannot accept this report which has so many unrealistic expenditures to which the TCRA management gives unsatisfactory explanations, said POAC Deputy Chairman Deo Filikunjombe. The committee also questioned the Regulators use of USD to buy airtime for board members instead of local currency as per Public Procurement Act. The TCRA report showed that the board chairman was paid USD 350 in air time per month, while other members got USD 200 in air time vouchers. The POAC committee also established that 700m/- paid by telecommunication companies Vodacom and Zantel were not shown in the financial report, though the payment invoice showed that the money had been paid to the Regulator. Filikunjombe said the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report showed that TCRA entered into unnecessary expenditures, noting that the money could have been channeled into needy sectors like students loans and other social issues. It is impossible for 2.2bn/- to be spent on training three people abroad and payment of allowances to people who are supposed to fulfill their duties why is the board chairman given 350 USD while he is not among the executives? asked Filikunjombe. Filikunjombe said TCRA accepted transactions in terms of dollars while it barred companies under it to make such transactions. He added that the committee was also not happy with the rising construction cost of the headquarters building which pointed to possible embezzlement of the funds. The committee directed TCRA to stop paying airtime to board members immediately and the use of USD instead of the local currency. The committee also asked the CAGs office in collaboration with PPRA to review the financial report for the year 2010/2011 to clarify the anomalies. He said POAC will also meet with ministers for finance and communications to establish whether they have allowed TCRA to transact in US dollars instead of the local currency. TCRA lawyer Elizabeth Nzagi who represented the Director General said that violation of the procurement law was due to human error. She said the money spent for allowances was due to the fact that TCRA held technical meetings which take a long time. For his part TCRA Board Chairman retired Judge Buxton Chipeta thanked the committee for its comments and promised to come up with a financial report which will address the shortfalls. SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN For me I think PCCB needs to intervene and investigate immediately and necessary action. There is a lot to be uncovered at TCRA, I can bet!