6th January 2011 Transport Minister, Omari Nundu Transport Minister, Omari Nundu yesterday described revelations by Wikileaks on corruption allegations in the Air Tanzania's jetliner-purchase deal as illogical and untrue. "The revelations do not make sense…they are totally untrue," said the minister in an exclusive interview with The Guardian yesterday. The minister reacting two days after whistle blower website, Wikileaks revealed massive corruption allegations that surrounded a multi-billion airplanes-purchase deal for Air Tanzania (ATCL) four years ago. According to the information sourced from US diplomatic cables, there were elements of corruption in ATCL's plan of purchasing ten airplanes - in a government concerted efforts to revamp the national flag carrier. In his response, the transport minister said although he was not in the ministry at the time the processes were being implemented, "simple logic would tell you that Wikileaks revelations are not true." "It does not make any sense to say Air Tanzania, which is financially constrained, could involve itself in negotiations for the purchase of airplanes worth billions of shillings. I was not there when these deals were being negotiated, but I know that even by that time, ATCL had no money to embark on large-scale purchasing," noted minister Nundu. He said Wikileaks corruption allegations in the deal were "illogical" because they cannot be proved, as ATCL had not managed to purchase new plane since then. "It would have been easier to substantiate the validity of Wikileaks allegations if ATCL had acquired new airplanes. But Air Tanzania does not possess any new plane…that's why I can say with certainty that the Wikileaks allegations are invalid, illogical and untrue, since they cannot be proved," said Nundu. The minister did not disclose specific measures for revamping ATCL saying he was working on a holistic approach to improve aviation sector in the country. He said his ministry was stepping up strategic measures to assist local and foreign investors enter the aviation sector with a view to improving services delivery. The country, he said, needed investors, insisting that in these moves, the government would not mind if the investors were foreigners and locals. "What we want are serious investors who will operate under the country's aviation framework, policies, laws and principles…it could be foreign-owned airlines, locally-owned or joint ventures, but committed investors who would be ready to operate under our aviation systems," explained the minister. Zitto Kabwe, former chairman of a parliamentary committee overseeing public organizations accounts, expressing ignorance of the purchase details, said although Air Tanzania was a public firm, its audited reports had not been submitted to the responsible parliamentary committee for the last five years. According to the Kigoma North MP, the parliamentary committee could not access its audited reports because of certain factors -one being that the national flag carrier was restructured in 2006 and later on, a special task force appointed to shape its operations. "Because of these factors, the parliamentary committee on public institutions did not manage to get audited reports of ATCL operations," said Kabwe. "On that basis, I cannot make any comment regarding suspected corrupt dealings in the processes of purchasing the said aircraft by Air Tanzania as revealed by Wikileaks. I cannot do that from a parliamentary perspective; I cannot do that from personal perceptive, because of I was not aware of these dealings," noted Kabwe. "I am still following up these unfolding issues and will comment later on," he added. "If an MP like me is not aware of this latest ATCL scam, ordinary people cannot understand anything," he said. On Monday, Wikileaks revealed diplomatic cables complaining of favouritism and suspicion of corruption in the manner Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) went about shopping for jetliners for its ageing fleet four years ago. According to the cables, carried in the New York Times of Sunday, January 2 this year the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam fighting for Boeing then said: "As Air Tanzania shops for new airplanes for its ageing fleet, we remain troubled by separate press reports, quoting Air Tanzania leadership and most recently the Minister of Infrastructure that a decision has been made in favour of Airbus." SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN My Take: I can speak with absolutely certainty that there is enough evidence supporting the US's diplomatic cable on the airbus issue. I hope he will reconsider restating his ministry's position before this evidence becomes public next week on JF's own expose!!