MPs grill govt on corruption: Demand detailed official progress report on the war against the vice THISDAY REPORTER Dodoma MEMBERS of parliament have warned the Government against a rising tide of grand corruption in the country, saying efforts to fight the vice so far have been largely disappointing. In a rare show of unity, key legislators from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) joined forces with their opposition counterparts in the House to demand much more decisive action from the Government on tackling high-level graft. Debating the 2009/10 budget proposals of the Prime Ministers Office in the National Assembly, MPs from both sides of the political divide noted that for whatever reason, Government resolve towards the task at hand seems to be ebbing away and badly needs to be kick-started. There was almost unanimous consensus amongst the speaking lawmakers that the personal intervention of the nations topmost leaders - President Jakaya Kikwete, Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein, and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda � is what is needed to provide the push and rescue the fight against corruption. Ms Anne Kilango Malecela (Same East-CCM) issued a direct challenge to Premier Pinda to give the House a proper briefing on progress made so far in the officially-declared war against grand corruption in the country. She said because of the Governments perceived inaction, the political opposition camp is gaining credibility as anti-corruption crusaders. When winding up this debate on his budget proposals, the prime minister should tell Parliament in detail what sort of progress has been made todate in the investigations of all grand corruption scandals that have hit this country, she said. Ms Kilango urged the overnment to step up the fight and take swifter and more decisive action against proven allegations of corruption by public leaders. Such leaders should be publicly named and thrown out of the window, she charged, further warning the Government of the damaging implications of trying to protect implicated leaders. Beatrice Shellukindo (Kilindi-CCM) said MPs will not stop questioning the Government on the state of corruption in the country until they get some serious answers. Our job is to supervise Government performance...we will not stop speaking about these important issues until we get satisfactory explanations, she stated. She faulted public officials over what she called the unsatisfactory implementation of key Government decisions, particularly regarding anti-corruption measures. Both Ms Shellukindo and Ms Kilango also called on the Government to clear the confusion over who are the designated spokespersons of key public institutions, including State House. Who exactly is the bonafide spokesperson of State House? We cant allow just anybody to make statements from and on behalf of such an important and crucial institution. For example, in the United States, the spokesperson of the White House is known...but that is not the case here at our own State House Ms Shellukindo said. Likewise, Mbozi East legislator Godfrey Zambi (CCM) questioned the Governments handling of allegations of sleaze in major contracts, citing the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) as an example. He slammed the Governments apparent lack of urgency in implementing a resolution passed by Parliament more than a year ago to terminate an illegal contract extension offered to TICTS for leasing of the container terminal at the Dar es Salaam Port. Last year, the same lawmaker successfully tabled in Parliament a private motion calling for the annulment of a dubious extension of the TICTS contract by 10 years. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) later confirmed that the contract extension ordered personally by former president Benjamin Mkapa was illegal and advised the Government of the day to scrap it. I really cant understand why it is taking so long to end the TICTS issue once and for all. Why should it take more than a year for the Government to act on something that has already been long decided by Parliament? Zambi queried. This is a question of good governance...what kind of governance is this, when a whole year has now passed without the Government implementing a Bunge resolution? he added. The Mbozi East MP, who is also a member of the parliamentary infrastructure committee, stressed that Government leaders should not just pay lip service to good governance while failing to address pertinent issues on time. Opposition MPs have asserted that ongoing efforts to address high-level corruption in the country are in complete disarray, the vice having permeated virtually every Government ministry and implicated some of the most powerful public officials - both past and present. The Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition in the National Assembly, Dr Wilbrod Slaa, told the House that he would not be silenced even after a Government order that controversial payments made by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to a string of dubious gold-related companies should not be discussed in Parliament for reasons of national security. In another development, CCM legislators Chrisant Mzindakaya (Kwela) and Richard Ndassa (Sumve) yesterday stood up in the House to speak in defence of former president Benjamin Mkapas record in Government. According to Mzindakaya, the ex-president was a victim of evil attacks from people questioning his ethics during his time in office (1995-2005).