Mkulo ignorant on DECI - Pinda 2009-04-24 12:50:59 By Bilham Kimati, Dodoma Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said yesterday that Finance and Economic Affairs minister, Mustafa Mkulo, ``acted in ignorance`` when he opened a Development Entrepreneurship Community Initiative (Deci) branch at his Kilosa constituency early this year. ``Being a cabinet minister bearing responsibilities in the ministry of finance, he (Mkulo) was unfortunately not aware that Deci was engaged in operations which contravened laws and regulations of the land. He acted in ignorance,`` PM Pinda told the National Assembly. The clarification was made during an impromptu question and answer session to the premier usually held in the august House on Thursdays allowing legislators to field questions demanding straight-forward answers. The premier was responding to a question posed by leader of the opposition camp Hamad Rashid, pointing an accusing finger at Mkulo who was reported to have recently inaugurated a branch of Deci in his Kilosa constituency, implying that he blessed its operations. ``It seems he acted in ignorance not knowing that Deci functioned illegally through a pyramid scheme which is prohibited by law. However, his decision to open the branch does not justify or rather alter the reality that Deci operated illegally,`` he insisted. Pinda`s statement comes a day after the leader of the Deci members` committee Isaack Kalenge called on Mkulo to resign for lying to the public that he did not open a Deci branch in Kilosa, Morogoro Region. The Pentecostal Church Pastor claimed the minister was aware of Deci operations, as he had agreed to officiate at the opening of the branch in his constituency. Earlier, Hamad had questioned the silence maintained by the government for three years only to react when things had already gone wrong. Hamad`s question focused on the recent pronouncement by the government that Deci operated illegally. ``Is it government policy to remain silent as happened in Ihefu wetlands, Kunduchi area where people were evicted and now in the Deci issue where members are uncertain about the money they `sowed`? Does it mean that the government did not realize early enough that Deci operated along questionable lines? he charged. In response, Pinda said: ``No, the government does not have such a policy, only that Deci operated under a religious cover. Permits issued to Deci by the Bank of Tanzania, clearly indicated that Deci was not allowed to collect property in the form of cash from its members,`` he explained. ``BoT advised Deci officials that if they had the capital and if their intention was to help women and low income earners they could go ahead, but should first submit their audited accounts and not be involved in money collection. ``The information reached authorities through individuals who reported that Deci was receiving money from its members in the form of a pyramid scheme which is illegal,`` Pinda clarified. He said suspension of activities of the scheme by the government was not ill-intentioned but rather to help those who `sowed their seeds` recover them in a peaceful and dignified manner. However, in what sounded like the last nail on Deci`s coffin, the prime minister stressed that its officials who violated the regulations would be dealt with just like any other law breakers. For the last four weeks the controversy that surrounded Deci operations with its headquarters in Dar es Salaam has thrown hundreds of thousands of its members into panic about their `sowed` cash. In the aftermath of the banishment of Deci, police arrested a cleric who was addressing members at the organisation`s headquarters in Mabibo Dar es Salaam allegedly in violation of police order that banned assembly or demonstration of its members. Some Deci members are said to have fainted on Wednesday, while others fell sick worrying over whether they would ever recover their cash. Speaking to editors in Dar es Salaam last week, Pinda said Deci was operating against the laws of the land that prohibit pyramid and other similar schemes. Meanwhile, Angel Navuri reports that Deci members who are set to start getting their refunds tomorrow continued with the verification exercise dubbed ``uprooting the sown seeds.`` A visit by The Guardian at the schemes headquarters in Dar es Salaam yesterday found a number of members at the offices, seeking to have their receipts stamped; an essential step before repayment. Deci which is reported to have been operating in the country for the past three years had opened 46 branches in 18 districts. Reports from Arusha said up to yesterday Deci members were not informed of Saturday`s planned exercise of being given their money back, as has been the case with Dar es Salaam members. Our reporter`s spot check at the Deci office in Arusha showed that the exercise to stamp DECI members` receipts had not yet started to guarantee members of refund. In Mwanza reports said that members of the scheme had flocked to the Deci offices, but no single officer of the scheme was around to offer assistance to them. `The Guardian` established that upto yesterday notices were pasted on noticeboards at the offices, indicating that Deci members would be refunded, but would not elaborate on the time and date of refund. SOURCE: Guardian At: www.ippmedia.com dated 24 April 2009. Hapa mimi naeelekea kutambua kwamba: 1. Waziri aliyepewa majukumu ya kifedha kwa taifa zima la Tanzania hajui kazi yake! 2. Hata kama anajua kazi yake na kuona kuwa kuna matatizo hakuchukua hatua kufuatilia jambo hili zima la DECI! 3. Bado amekaa kimya manake inaonyesha kwamba bado hajajua kuwa kuna kosa amefanya!! Mungu Ibairiki Tanzania na watu wake!!!