Marmo speaks out on BoT 'nepotism' By Rodgers Luhwago THE CITIZEN Cabinet minister Philip Marmo yesterday said that the central bank didn't necessarily err in employing sons and daughters of leading government officials if they were recruited on the basis of merit. Speaking to this newspaper over the phone, Mr Marmo, the minister of State in the President's Office (Good Governance), said reports that the bank hired 17 workers who are relatives of top Government officials and prominent politicians. The minister said this matter should not be made a big issue in relation to recruitment policy in an organisation employing over 2000 people. However, he was quick to hint that should evidence indicate that the 17 employees were employed through the influence of their parents or relatives, investigations would be conducted to set out the facts, so no one should rush to judging those involved. The minister was reacting to reports in a section of the media that the 17 offspring of former and current top officials within the Government, saying this was an example of nepotism. The minister said all Tanzanians have the right to work in any public institution provided proper employment procedures are followed. "If those new employees were recruited on merit, including following required procedures, I don't see why it should raise hue and cry among the public. But if it wasn't the case that needs to be worked on," he said. Marmo told The Citizen that he received news about the claims over recruitment of top government officials' sons and daughters yesterday morning as he was listening to an Arusha-based radio station, reading headlines of newspapers of the day. The minister, qualifying his remarks as 'personal,' said the public should understand that an individual, a bona fide citizen, is not stripped of the right to work for the central bank just because his father was a top government official. "Sometimes we need to be reminded to be fair. Does it mean that my child now has no right to work for the BoT simply because I am holding a ministerial post in the government?" he queried. The minister said it was important to understand that there was no private business at the BoT that could bring about a conflict of interest between the recruited employees and the central bank. "By the way, what is the total number of BoT workers and what impact do the new employees have on the total number of BoT employees?" the minister asked, noting that few BoT employees were related to top government officials. Unidentified people posted the names of the disputed BoT recruits on the internet, suggesting that some of them lacked professional qualifications. It was also claimed that proper employment procedures were not followed as they were just placed on account of parental influence instead of applying for the jobs. When The Citizen contacted the PCCB director general for comment on the subject he said: "Talk to Ms Mosha who is the anti-graft body's spokesperson. Nowadays I don't talk to media reporters." The lady, when contacted, said she would have to follow up on the matter in office before advising the media about the issue. Dr Willibrod Slaa, the Chadema secretary general and Karatu MP said he was aware of the dispute about the BoT staff. According to him, the Government should respond to the allegations by telling the public about the posts the employees are holding and their qualifications. It should also tell the public if employment procedures were followed during recruitment, he urged. "It is not a crime for children of top government officials to be recruited to the BoT but we are interested in their qualifications, the posts they are holding and whether employment procedures were followed," he said. Dr Slaa said the central bank has over 2000 workers, so the posts held by the disputed employees should be made public. The idea is to see if they were placed in senior positions that could affect decision making, he added.