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Kikwete: more big Tanzania graft prosecutions soon

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Sungi, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Sungi

    Sungi Senior Member

    Sep 14, 2009
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    * President says two or three cases imminent

    * Says tackling sharks, not just "small fish"

    By George Obulutsa

    DAR ES SALAAM, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Tanzania's anti-graft agency will bring two or three big cases to court soon as part of a drive against corruption that has already claimed several senior officials, President Jakaya Kikwete has said.

    Kikwete is expected to stand for re-election at a poll towards the end of next year. He has placed fighting graft, especially in public procurement, among his top priorities.

    Speaking on local TV and radio late on Wednesday, the president said there were 578 graft cases currently before the Tanzanian courts, up from just 50 four years ago.

    Of those, Kikwete added, 27 involved individuals implicated in grand corruption, including senior civil servants.

    "But we think this is just the beginning. We have to keep doing more," he said. "PCCB (Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau) are preparing two or three more big cases which they are soon taking to court."

    In the Doing Business 2010 report compiled by the International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank's private sector lender, Tanzania was ranked 15th for sub-Saharan Africa, behind Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia.

    Kenya, the region's economic powerhouse, was 8th. Rwanda was hailed as the world's biggest business reformer. [ID:nN08290192]


    Global anti-graft watchdog Transparency International ranked Tanzania 102nd in the world in its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, down from its position of 94th the year before.

    Critics have accused Tanzania's government in the past of concentrating on tackling petty corruption at the expense of major prosecutions, but that trend appears to have changed.

    At least 13 individuals are in court in the east African nation over a 2005 scandal where the government paid $105.5 million to companies using flawed or nonexistent records from the central bank's External Payment Arrears Account (EPA).

    Last year, Kikwete fired central bank governor, the late Daudi Ballali, over the affair and ordered that account frozen.

    "The concerns people have is that I am just dealing with the small fish but not the sharks," Kikwete said.

    "The challenge is the big fish are sophisticated and know how to hide. But we have followed them and caught up with EPA."

    In 2008, the government also charged two former ministers with impropriety over the award of a 2002 mineral audit tender.

    Kikwete's first prime minister, Edward Lowassa, resigned last year after a parliamentary probe into an emergency power procurement tender. Infrastructure Minister Andrew Chenge quit amid local media reports of corruption in a controversial 2002 radar purchase agreed while he was Tanzania's attorney-general. (Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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    Source: Reuters