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Kagoda and all that: why the farcical secrecy?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, May 22, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    May 22, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:19


    Bank of Tanzania (BoT) twin tours. EPA (External Payment Arrears Account) was set up at the BoT to take care of debt arrears, which were owed to foreign suppliers by Tanzanian traders.

    Karl Lyimo, Dar es Salaam

    Clearly, the professed war against grand corruption in Tanzania is being fought not on real-situation battlefields using what'd pass for ‘live ammunition:' realistic, thorough investigations leading to vigorous court prosecutions leading to real-time convictions (soonest rather than overly delayed), and culminating in punitive/remedial sentencing/penal servitude.

    More often than not, the authorities go through the motions of ‘waging the war' on/from political podiums and posh air-conditioned offices. They incessantly talk, talk and talk about ‘fighting' corruption without actually walking, walking and walking their talk!

    Ready examples of this will always come from the EPA scandal, the systematic looting of billions of shillings from a special account at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in the mid-2000 years. EPA (External Payment Arrears Account) was set up at the nation's central bank to sort out and take care of debt arrears which were owed to foreign suppliers by Tanzanian traders, bona fide and sham. In the event, a few unscrupulous smart-alecky folk severely bent the rules.

    Acting with considerable help from officials of dubious probity at the central bank and other relevant institutions, they devised ways and means of getting their thieving hands on the funds, setting the nation back by at least a goodly Sh133bn!

    One of the thieves - pardon, for lack of a better term - was Kagoda Agricultural Corporation (Kagoda), which reportedly looted more than Sh40bn of the EPA funds. Preliminary investigations revealed that Kagoda was one of 22 ‘companies' which illegally benefited from the thieving.

    In due course of time and events, some of the companies were arraigned in court to answer assorted criminal charges. This was more than two years ago; and the fate of those cases is still enigmatic. If Justice delayed is Justice denied, there's no material reason why such open-and-shut cases should take so long to conclude - thereby ensuring fair and equal dispensation of Justice all round.

    One surprising aspect that left a foul taste in the mouth was when the authorities promised virtual amnesty from prosecution thieves who'd return the stolen funds. Final details of these developments are hazy or lacking: exactly who, for example, refunded the loot, how much, when and modality. What happened to the returned loot and the companies/individuals involved - including Kagoda!

    When all this was still so much informational flotsam, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Eliezer Feleshi, threw a monkey wrench into the works, calling upon persons with information of evidentiary value on Kagoda to produce it for his consideration!(Mwananchi: May 6, 2011).

    This is most flummoxing. Tanzania is home to a zillion investigative and law enforcement institutions, including the regular police, the Criminal Investigation Directorate, the Prevention & Combating of Corruption Bureau… Does the DPP still need hapless men and women in the street to help all these with info?

    It reminds me of the response by former IGP Omar Mahita to why the police weren't acting on the catalogue of financial misdeeds regularly published by the Controller & Auditor-General… The police can't act, Mahita said, unless and until a formal complaint was filed with them...

    This flies in the face of the fact that the crimes and perpetrators are known to the authorities as a matter of course - including notorious smugglers/tax evaders; drug barons; bribe-givers/takers; embezzlers of public funds/resources, the lot… Sheesh!

    The same old war of words against grand corruption - a real and formidable enemy - continues to be prosecuted even from the highest echelons of government. Winding up a week-long instructional seminar for hundreds of top government and party officials in Dodoma May 15, this year President Kikwete ‘invited' the leaders to actively fight grand corruption…
    Now, where did I hear that before? Was the expenditure lavished on the seminar prove to be good value for the money? Cheers!

    Karl Lyimo is a veteran journalist and economic /political commentator based in Dar es Salaam BOOK, BELL
    AND CAndle