Member of Parliament demand audit findings on four companies By Damas Kanyabwoya, Dodoma THE CITIZEN MPs yesterday asked the Government to explain why audit reports on three controversial companies did not appear in the Controller and Auditor General's report tabled in Parliament recently. The companies are Alex Stewart Assayers (ASA), Meremeta and Mwananchi Gold. The Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament, Mr Hamad Rashid (Wawi-CUF), demanded that the Government explains to why it paid ASA Sh60bn and yet the information did not appear in the CAG's audit report. He was debating the Public Accounts Committee's report for the year 2006/2007 tabled by committee chairman John Cheyo (Bariadi East-UDP). How come after spending billions of shillings of taxpayers money, the Government is still very reluctant to let the same taxpayers know the truth?" he asked. Mr Hamad also demanded the tabling of reports on Meremeta and Mwananchi Gold companies. �The Government even admitted here in Parliament that it co-owned Meremeta Gold Company. Why then can't audit reports on the company be released?" he posed. But the CAG, Mr Ludovick Utouh, said the two companies did not feature in his report because he was not furnished with the relevant documents. What shall I audit if there are no documents? he asked during a telephone interview with The Citizen. We audited a total of 158 parastatals, but neither Meremeta, or Tangold, nor Mwananchi Gold were not there. Auditing is done based on documents submitted by the relevant authoritiesn I wasn't given any document relating to these companies and that is why the 2006/7 audit didn't cover them, he said. Mr Hamad also wanted to know why an audit of Tanzania Government Diamond Sorting (Tansort) was not contained in the CAG's report. Also unanswered were queries raised by PAC in 2004 on Tansort. In 2004, PAC conducted an investigation that revealed shocking details on Tansort. We demanded an explanation from the Government, but no reply has been forthcoming, Mr Hamad told the Parliament. The little-known Tansort, which is based in London, was established in 1966. It was meant to assess the price of diamonds that are exported to Great Britain from Mwadui Diamond Mine in Shinyanga Region. It was also tasked with collecting the government's 5 per cent royalty from Mwadui, which is 75 per cent owned by DeBeers Company. The Government owns the remaining 25 per cent and DeBeers pays Tansort $4.5 per carat. Between 1994 and 2000, the firm paid $4.05 million to Tansort for the sorting 901,300 carats of diamond. Production (in carats) for seven years was: 1999 (20,800), 1995 (35,000), 1996 (121,500), 1997 (121,000), 1998 (87,500), 1999 (196,5000) and 2000 (319,000). But according to government officials, no money paid by DeBeers to Tansort has been remitted to the Treasury. In 2004, PAC, then chaired by Mr Rashid, was tasked with investigating Tansort's activities and methods of payment of royalties from diamond sales. The investigation revealing gross misappropriation of funds was tabled in Parliament, but the Government has so far failed to give a detailed explanation on the firm�s activities and why it does not remit money to the Treasury. Hansard records indicate that on July 17, 2006, when tabling the budget for the ministry of Energy and Minerals, the then minister, Dr Ibrahim Msabaha, said Tansort was to be allocated with Sh1.2 billion for the training of its officials. The sum was also meant to meet office rent expenses for the company, which, according to the minister, was to be moved to Tanzania. Debating the PAC report yesterday, MP Estherina Kilasi (Mbarali-CCM) said it was disappointing that after the 10-member PAC probe committee on Tansort spent millions of shillings on investigations, the Government did nothing on the report. Parliamentary committees should be respected and from now on we will not approve ministries budgets unless the minister concerned explains questionable expenditures pointed out by the CAG and committee reports, she said. For instance, she said, the former ministry of Higher Education spent Sh16 billion in 2005/06 while university students were complaining of bureaucracy in getting loans. Debating the Electricity Bill of 2007 on Tuesday before it was passed, Mr John Lwanji (Manyoni West-CCM) said the fact that Sh2 billion paid as capacity charge to independent power producing companies per month seemed to end up in corrupt officials and politicians pockets showed that corruption in the country had reached alarming levels. We still have some clean people, though, like Vice-President Mohammed Shein, Prime Minster Mizengo Pinda. Mzee Rashid Kawawa was also an honest person when he was serving this country, he said.