Urgent need to clean up Central Banks top hierarchy Courstesy ThisDay Editor FRESH reports of payments amounting to over 6bn/- paid to four private companies by Bank of Tanzania (BoT) through the countrys troubled external payment arrears (EPA) account during financial year 2006/7 have resurfaced again. Reports say the four private companies, some of which are also on the list of the 133bn/- EPA account illegal payments made to 22 Shell companies covering financial year 2005/6 got paid between 500m/- and 4bn/- each. The new wave of thefts seem to be a continuation of an established culture by some people who have siphoned billions of shillings from BoT during the tenure of former governor, the late Daudi Ballali. The BoT under new governor Prof. Benno Ndulu has vowed to end habitual thefts done by some high profile public officials in collaboration with senior central bank officials, some of whom are still occupying senior managerial and board of directors positions at the central bank. It is said that an Ernst & Young audit report covering 2006/7 submitted by the Controller and Auditor General to BoT governor and International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts working to establish safeguard measures to curb white collar crime by crooked public officials in future, has unveiled another record looting from the EPA account by four private companies. We are concerned that this kind of theft was made possible by some senior central bank officials, most of whom worked closely with the late Ballali as his key aides. Their continued presence at BoT and especially at such senior levels of management makes Prof. Ndullu?s efforts to stamp out such criminal acts difficult. These people are part and parcel of a cartel which had its tentacles from State House during Benjamin William Mkapas presidency covering 1995/2005. These acts of criminal activity going on at BoT even after Mr Mkapas end of tenure in office are against the spirit of new zeal, vigour and speed being championed by President Jakaya Kikwete. We think its time the head of state took swift measures ahead of a report by the high level tripartite committee he appointed to probe the matter further under the chairmanship of attorney general, Johnson Mwanyika. Its a pity that some few crooked people using their positions of authority in public office have turned our central bank into a hive of criminal activity conducting payments worth billions of shillings at will using forged documents prepared by shell companies whose legal existence ceases once the transactions are effected. Now is the time that we think the presidency as an appointing authority should act swiftly and save our bank from being in the hands of crooked individuals whose involvement in past misconducts justifies their removal from public office. Ballali could not have endorsed such colossal payments without the knowledge of his deputies or directors of the central banks board. The current composition of BoTs senior managers and directors of the board leaves much to be desired if we are to trust the president and governors resolve to fight the vice. Some of these managers played different roles such as signing documents to facilitate acts of theft of billions of shillings over the past years hence cannot be trusted to lead a decent BoT management team. All efforts currently being taken by the government, BoT governor, and IMF to establish safeguard measures to stop the looting of the countrys life blood, will prove futile because some of the culprits are still occupying senior decisive positions at the bank.