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Members of EALA Raise Concern!

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Buchanan, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Buchanan

    Buchanan JF Diamond Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Joined: May 19, 2009
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    By Zephania Ubwani, Arusha

    How old is the vessel purchased by the East African Community three years ago for millions of dollars but has since docked at Mwanza port?

    This was the concern of almost all members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) on Wednesday when discussing the EAC audited accounts for the financial year ending June 2008.

    The legislators, currently meeting in Arusha, took to task the EAC secretariat for apparently hiding vital information on the ship which once plied Lake Nyasa waters.

    Dr Amani Kabourou from Tanzania told the Eala on Wednesday evening that the vessel has remained idle and wondered if ever it was seaworthy.

    �How old is it? How and when will it become operational?� he asked as he debated the EAC financial report.

    The report was criticised by the legislators because it exposed shortcomings in the institution's internal audit systems.

    As several legislators from the region raised their concern, the EAC secretary general, Mr Juma Mwapachu, rose and admitted that RV Jumuiya was actually an old vessel.

    He said it was donated to the regional organisation by UK Department for International Development (DfID) to improve the safety of navigation, research and education-related activities in Lake Victoria.

    The ship had once navigated in Lake Nyasa but was dismantled and brought to Mwanza after it was purchased in 2004 and reassembled for use on Lake Victoria in 2006.

    �It worked very well for two years. Of course, it is an old vessel. What we are now trying to do is to introduce modern navigational equipment to enable it undertake hydrological surveys,� he said.

    But Dr Kabourou insisted on knowing the age of the ship. He said senior officials of the EAC should be taken to task for importing obsolete equipment into the region.

    Ambassador Mwapachu promised that everything was being done to ensure the grounded ship was operating so that it can undertake the task it was purchased for.

    Sources close to the EAC said the vessel was acquired from the UK in order to undertake research activities in the vast and shared lake, including safety navigation.

    It was worth about 650,000 British pounds when it was donated to the EAC some five years ago.

    But the EAC Accounts Audit report presented to the legislators complicates the matter further by saying the ship was neither insured nor seaworthy.

    �The vessel which is docked at the port of Mwanza was not insured because it was found not seaworthy due to lack of basic navigation and safety equipment,� the auditors said.

    Even after its re-assembling, RV Jumuiya had no permanent staff like the captain or marine engineer.

    The vessel was to be under the direct supervision of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) based in Kisumu.

    Recently, it reported that RV Jumuiya has since been fitted with basic navigation equipment and was tested during an exploratory hydro survey of Mwanza, Kisumu and Port Bell ports.

    But later a verification team sent to Mwanza found out that its two engines, the gear box and generator were old and obsolete.

    To make matters worse, the vessel's lifeboat was destroyed during the exploratory hydrographic survey of the three ports.

    Fire extinguishers and inflatable life rafts had not been serviced while the vessel lacked trans-users and flares, weather forecast equipment and its CCTV was not working.

    "It was therefore concluded that the authorities may not issue the certificate of sea-worthness and also its insurance may not be attained. The vessel is, therefore, not operational," the report said.

    The committee, however, emphasized that despite the shortcomings found, there was need of having RV Jumuiya in operation because of the LVEMP II project and other issues related to safety and security.