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Embezzlement in abuja

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Geza Ulole, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Geza Ulole

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Mar 19, 2010
    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
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    Published on: Wed, 03/17/2010 - 4:40pm

    Damas Makangale

    THE request by the Tanzanian embassy in Nigeria for Tsh 4bn/- to construct a new complex is a shocking, given the example of embezzlement in this diplomatic corps, that it was this very mission who squandered millions of taxpayers’ money during the 2007/2008 financial year, The Express can report.
    According to a statement issued last week from Abuja by the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister’s office, the embassy in Abuja urgently needs Tsh 4 bn/- for the construction and establishment of a permanent chancery in Nigeria.
    The statement added that the embassy has been given notice, a threat to revoke the occupancy permit previously issued for Tanzania to establish a permanent residence.
    “In 1995 Nigeria allocated land measuring 5,294 square metres for the office and 2,500 square metres for the residence of the ambassador, but it remained undeveloped. The delay has given rise to concern with a threat of withdrawal of the offer. The best way to retain the plots of land is to develop them as soon as possible,” says Ambassador Msuya Mangachi.
    In fact, misuse of funds in the Nigerian embassy and other embassies abroad have shown how corruption, embezzlement and over expenditure ‘eats’ Tanzanian taxpayers’ money, while accelerating extreme poverty in the country.
    The Controller and Auditor General’s report on the audit of the financial statements of the central government for the year ended 30th June 2008, said that the Tanzanian Abuja embassy’s accounts had received an adverse opinion, namely:
    1) that the mission had processed and issued cheques amounting to Tsh 205,194,250m/- in the absence of payment vouchers.
    The CAG report further said:
    2) the mission had made purchases of goods worth Tsh 8,060,800m/- (Naira 806,080), that were not recorded in the stores ledger, contrary to procurement regulations.
    The report underscored that:
    3) funds amounting to Tsh 18,059,376.00/- were received from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, for promoting tourism. The financial statements of the embassy showed that Shs.16, 876,416/- were spent for tourism purposes during the year. However according to the audit scrutiny the CAG did not find any tourism expenditure incurred during 2007/08.
    The CAG report explained further that:
    4) expenditure amounting to Shs.14, 137,450/- was made in cash during the year without being authorized by the relevant authority.
    The report pointed out the embassy’s financial statements reflected that:
    5) revenue collected funds amounting to Shs.47, 156,479/- were withdrawn without early detection, because revenues are commingled within a ‘deposit account’, since the High Commission does not a have revenue bank account.
    The CAG cited that the internal control system is weak since the High Commissioner cannot segregate duties effectively, owing to the small size of the High Commission.
    The report added while comparing the mission’s approved estimates and actual expenditure item by item for the year 2007/2008, they noted that:
    6) there was an over expenditure of Tsh 218,596,601 in the actual expenditure of Tsh 792,434,401, where the approved expenditure was Tsh.573,837,800.
    The report further said:
    7) the work of the financial attaché was not reviewed by another person while ethical financial management requires the audit should be done by more than one person.
    An adverse opinion report is issued as a last resort, when audit findings are considered material and fundamental to the extent of making the financial statements highly blameworthy. A report of this kind means that action has to be taken.
    Surprisingly, for unknown reasons, the press statement issued to the media from Nigeria was not shown the response of Premier Mizengo Pinda, following the request made by the Ambassador to construct a permanent embassy in Abuja.
    Speaking to The Express in an exclusive interview on Monday, Chadema Secretary- General Dr Willbrod Slaa (MP) said firstly the government should do an evaluation of whether Tanzania needs a permanent chancery in Abuja.
    “There are two things here, firstly to look at whether we need a permanent embassy or not, and secondly embezzlement in our diplomatic mission,” he said.
    He said the CAG reports always indicate extravagance, misallocations and over- expenditures in the local and central government but no action is taken by the authority concerned.
    Dr Slaa further said the government is always neglecting the CAG reports for unknown reasons, while corruption is still rampant inside and outside the country.
    He cited that Tanzania’s ambassador to Malawi was condemned sometime last year in the National Assembly over misuse of the public funds.
    “We discussed the problem of embezzlement among the diplomatic corps and the parliamentarians mentioned our ambassador to Malawi had spent millions of money for luxuries,” he said.
    The MP noted there is poor financial management in the country that paves the way for grand corruption, extravagance and over-expenditure in every corner.
    Dr Slaa underscored that the government often dilly-dallies in taking legal action against all those who are involved in various scandals inside and outside the country.
    For his part, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs, Security and Safety, Wilson Masilingi (MP), said all those who were involved in embezzlement in the Tanzanian diplomatic corps should be taken to task.
    He said the committee is always insisting on the importance of employing checks and balances in management of financial mattes in to curb embezzlement in the country.
    “I hope the Ministry of foreign Affairs will take legal action against all those involved in the scandals,” he said.
    Masilingi pointed out that the CAG ‘s office needed special powers to oversee financial expenditure among the diplomatic corps.
    An effort to contract the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Membe proved futile, as his cell phone was not reachable for almost three days.
    However, this reporter decided to contact the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nyumayo, who directed him to cross-check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    At the Ministry, the landline to the Permanent Secretary was picked up by his secretary, who told The Express reporter to channel his enquiries via the ministry’s information department.
    However this reporter continued to insist that the story had nothing to do with the information officers because the report of the CAG was out two years ago, and the government is continuing to ignore it, and dilly dallying in taking legal action against the culprits. However, later the secretary responded by saying the Permanent Secretary was not in the office.
    The CAG’s 2007 / 2008 report has been submitted to the President in accordance with Article 143 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, and section 34(1) & (2) of the Public Audit Act No. 11 of 2008.
    In his statement the CAG told the National Assembly to take his report seriously, and that he hoped the report would prove useful in holding the government to account for its stewardship of public funds, and its delivery of services to Tanzanians.