Bank of Tanzania gave jobs to kin of former presidents Mkapa, Mwinyi The embattled Bank of Tanzania (BoT), already reeling from the EPA saga, has become embroiled in yet another scandal as it emerges that it irregularly employed children and relatives of the ruling elite, including those of former presidents Ali Hassani Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa as well as a regular who's who of luminaries who have dominated the country's political landscape since Independence. The latest episode in President Jakaya Kikwete's unprecedented crusade against the corruption and malpractices of past administrations - which began with the wholesale sacking of his own Cabinet - appears to be stripping away the last shreds of credibility from his immediate predecessor's regime. The allegations of nepotism at the central bank are being investigated by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), which has been charged with establishing whether the recruitment of children and relatives of two retired presidents, three former prime ministers, current serving ministers and permanent secretaries and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) legislators was done properly. The EastAfrican has learnt that the allegations involve the employment of children and relatives of Mr Mwinyi and Mr Mkapa; three former prime ministers - Rashidi Kawawa, Frederick Sumaye and Edward Lowassa - and retired inspector general of police Omari Mahita. The investigations show that others irregularly employed included children and relatives of former Cabinet ministers, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, Joseph Mungai, Gertrude Mongela, Kate Kamba. Others are a serving minister in President Jakaya Kikwete's Cabinet, Aggrey Mwanri, a retired Chief Secretary, Martin Lumbanga, and current serving Chief Secretary, Philemon Luhanjo. The EastAfrican has further obtained the names of 16 children and relatives of the senior government officials whose children and relatives are said to be either still employed by the bank or have left following the initiation of investigations by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB). The deputy director of PCCB, Lilian Mashaka, said the bureau has been formally informed of the allegations. "I can confirm that we have received this information and we are working on the issue," said Ms Mashaka, but declined to go into details of how far the investigations have progressed and the names of the children and relatives being investigated. Nepotism has become a raging issue at various public forums in the country, with the most notable being parliament, where legislators have accused the "big fish" in government and politics of using their positions to influence recruitment in government departments and parastatals - especially at the central bank, the Tanzania Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation - in favour of not only their own children but also those of their relatives and friends. This relentless attack culminated in the Bank of Tanzania agreeing to undertake a job evaluation to ascertain whether people employed at the bank were really qualified for the positions they occupy and whether they were employed on merit, among other things. Prof Benno Ndulu, Governor of BoT, told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam recently that the bank is aware of the allegations of nepotism and is working to establish whether the appointments of children and relatives of high-profile people were done according to the central bank regulations and if their jobs were advertised. Prof Ndulu said those found not to be qualified for their positions would be "restructured" and given new positions commensurate with their qualifications while those found to be qualified would be left in their current positions. "We have our own procedures of internal investigation and are also in the process of commissioning an outside firm to do the job evaluation. I don't want to get into any detailed discussion about the issue until the internal investigations are complete," he said. Prof Ndulu said he was optimistic that the job evaluation process and investigations would restore public confidence, which has been shattered by the stream of allegations levelled against the bank. The Bank of Tanzania has of late been implicated in the mismanagement of $133 million from the external payment arrears (EPA) account, of which the government has so far recovered $60 million in a specially arranged fund recovery exercise. The central bank has also been in the scandal sheets over the twin towers project at its main office at 10 Mirambo Street in Dar es Salaam, whose initial cost was put at $80 million eight years ago, but three years ago jumped to $200 million and has ended up costing the taxpayer $340 million to date. The bank is now undertaking an independent technical and value-for-money audit of the project. The bank said last week that the overall objective of the consultancy services it was commissioning is to review organisational structure, conduct a job evaluation exercise to provide a rational basis for the determination and management of internal equity between jobs and carry out a redesign of jobs and remuneration packages in the shortest possible time. The bank said the consultant for the exercise should be able to commence the assignment by first week of June. The consultant will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the Public Procurement, Selection and Employment of Consultants Regulations, 2005.