Corruption pervasive in Tanzania - report By ThisDay Reporter 8th June 2010 A new report by a Washington think tank says corruption in government remains widespread and entrenched in Tanzania, despite the high-profile prosecution of suspects accused of looting funds from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT). "Despite improvements during the past decade, corruption remains pervasive throughout the government," says the Heritage Foundation in its 2010 Economic Freedom Index report. "The enforcement of laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption is largely ineffective." The report cites government procurement, privatization, taxation, ports, and customs clearance as areas where corruption persists. "Corruption is perceived as widespread. Tanzania ranks 102nd out of 179 countries in Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index for 2008," says the report. The US think noted that corruption remains a major problem in the country despite a series of high-profile graft prosecutions launched by the government in late 2008. The report comes as the Director-General of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Dr Edward Hoseah, recently announced in Dar es Salaam that files on two grand corruption cases have been forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consent to prosecute. The announcement came after the PCCB successfully prosecuted a major graft case involving the BoT Twin Towers project, leading to the conviction of a former senior central bank official, Amatus Liyumba, to two years in jail for abuse of office. Critics have long accused the PCCB for pursuing minor corruption cases that can guarantee quick and cheap convictions. A corruption case routinely involves three different agencies the PCCB, the DPP and the Attorney General's Chambers. In practice, the PCCB investigates the case and it is then submitted to the DPP for the office to consider whether or not to grant consent. The case is then referred to a State Attorney to prosecute. Analysts say corruption has become a way of life in Tanzania, and bribes are extorted as a matter of course for even basic services such as education, water and health. "The judiciary is underdeveloped and vulnerable to the political whims of the executive. Corruption is pervasive despite ongoing reform efforts, and restoring the governments credibility remains critical," said the report. The report described the country's legal system as "slow and subject to corruption." It said corruption was hurting Tanzania's development and pushing up the costs of doing business. "Some import and export restrictions, import taxes, import permit and licensing requirements, inefficient and slow customs administration, weak enforcement of intellectual property rights, and corruption add to the cost of trade," it said. According to the think tank, inefficient customs and other non-tariff barriers also limit overall trade freedom in the country. The 2010 Economic Freedom Index puts Tanzanias economic freedom score at 58.3, making its economy the 97th freest in the 2010 Index. Its score remains the same as last year. Tanzania is ranked 11th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is slightly lower than the world average. In the East African perspective, Tanzania has the third lowest economic freedom index after Burundi and Kenya. Kenya was placed at position 101, four places down from last year, and behind Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania which have been rated at 76, 93 and 97 respectively. Burundi is in position 160 out of the 179 countries rated. "The overall freedom to conduct a business is seriously limited under Tanzanias regulatory environment," says the Washington think tank. "Starting a business takes an average of 29 days, compared to the world average of 35 days. Obtaining a business license takes more than the world average of 18 procedures and 218 days, and costs are high."