Buy Time On UDA Probe, Advises Speaker


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Aug 2, 2010
Wed, Sep 14th, 2011
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Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda
Investigations into allegations of high-profile corruption at Usafiri Dar es Salaam(UDA) allegations have been put on hold, with the Parliamentary Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) “advised to buy time” as the Office of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) continues with its audit work.
It’s unclear when exactly the CAG’s office, which has started extensive investigations into the corporation’s books of accounts, will complete its work.
National Assembly Speaker Anne Makinda has already given a go-ahead to POAC chairperson Zitto Kabwe to investigate the corruption reports.
However, he said in an exclusive interview with this paper yesterday that his probe team has not started its work “because it has been directed by the House Speaker to buy time until the CAG’s Office completes its audit of the accounts”.
Extensive auditing of the accounts by the CAG’s Office of the 700m/- purchase deal signed by the UDA management and private investors started last week, according to Kabwe, who would not say when it will be concluded.
“I can’t say for sure when the CAG’s Office will complete its assignment. All I can say is that our task (POAC’s investigation of the purchase deal) will start immediately after the conclusion of the audit by the CAG’s Office,” he said.
He explained that, basically, the audit by the CAG’s Office would focus on the accounts of the state-owned transport firm – complete with debts and other financial matters.
“But the audit by the CAG’s Office and the probe by our committee should not be translated as a duplication of responsibilities,” said the MP.
“The audit would concentrate on the firm’s books of accounts, while our probe would target the purchase deal UDA signed with the investors,” he noted, elaborating: “In other words, our team’s main task is to check whether the purchase deal followed properly laid down legal and regulatory procedures. Our probe is the one that will give the final verdict on whether the transaction was legally entered into.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Acting Clerk of the National Assembly John Joel said: “It’s true that the Speaker (Anne Makinda) has advised Kabwe’s committee to wait until the CAG’s Office is through with its investigations on the firm’s accounts.” But he dismissed as “unfounded” reports that Kabwe had formed a sub-committee to investigate the controversial purchase deal, stressing that the probe would be done by POAC.
Heated debate ensued in the House during the marathon Budget meeting over the UDA purchase deal, the situation turning chaotic after revelations that 270m/- meant for the purchase of the former commuter transport firm was deposited in a private account.
In the wake of intensified public pressure, POAC declared the transaction illegal and ordered the immediate suspension of plans to privatise the corporation.
The media quoted the POAC chairperson as saying he had already asked the House to direct the government to suspend the transfer of UDA assets pending in-depth investigation into the disputed sale.
“As a matter of public interest, my committee has written the Speaker of the National Assembly to communicate our view that the deal is null and void,” said Kabwe, who is also Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition in the House.
Documents made public by POAC deputy vice chairman Deo Filikunjombe and later confirmed by Consolidated Holdings Corporation show that 270m/- tendered for buying UDA was indeed deposited in a private account in three separate transactions in suspicious circumstances.
By Judica Tarimo, The Guardian

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