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Price of patriotism and honesty

Discussion in 'Jamii Intelligence' started by BabuK, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 15, 2009
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    In the footsteps of a whistleblower: The man who exposed the Twin Towers mess

    By Staff writer
    15th November 2009


    BoT Twin Towers

    Seven years ago, one man refused to succumb to pressure from his bosses when he stood up and questioned the inflated cost of the controversial Twin Towers project.

    Then in April 2006, he made the bold decision to go public with how the much defended project's cost was being inflated – to the extent of costing taxpayers an extra $200million (Sh270billion), or an amount that could have financed 14,000 students through for four years of university education.

    Knowing that his decision apart from costing his job could also cost his life, the man set his personal interests and safety aside and instead acted in the interest of his fellow countrymen. He knew the project wasn't economically viable and that the third phase regime had orchestrated another white elephant deal that his fellow Tanzanians needed to be warned about.

    As expected, he lost his job, which at that point was bringing in close to $6,000 a month. He also withstood a number of grave attacks from the Central Bank of Tanzania, with the bank issuing a press release questioning his integrity as an engineer, even though it was the same bank that had previously hired and then promoted him to the position of Deputy Director for Estate Management.

    The man's name was Anthony Rukoijo, and in a curious way he represented the alter ego of those who are not ready to succumb to corrupt deals even if in so doing they are risking their lives.

    Looking back today, Rukoijo doesn't regret his costly decision to oppose the project. Instead he considers himself lucky, because if he had approved the project, he would now be spending his days and nights at Keko Maximum Prison with his former boss Amatus Liyumba.

    "It would have been even worse for me spending my life in prison now that I'm in my sixties. I would have died immediately," he says.

    "Daudi Ballali, the former BoT governor, through his top aides tried to ensure that I approved the cost of the project, but I defied his order because I was guided by my own principles...Finally they removed me from my position."

    "I would have loved to see Ballali's face but it's sad news that he died before the truth came out," Rukoijo says, adding that recently he was invited to testify before another committee currently assessing the value for money of the buildings.

    Like David Munyakei, a young Kenyan who revealed the massive Goldenberg scandal that cost Kenya close to $3billion during Daniel Arap Moi's administration, Rukoijo was a whistleblower; a man whose rigid sense of good and evil made it impossible to remain silent while taxpayer's billions were going to the dogs.

    Like Munyakei, Rukoijo's actions exposed a multi-million dollar scandal, though it came at a costly personal price. However the two have very different and contrasting backgrounds; while Rukoijo was a university graduate with BSc in Engineering from the University of Dar es Salaam, Munyakei was just a Form Four leaver and an illegitimate child born in Lang'ata prison, where his mother was employed by Kenya's Prisons Department.

    But both were joined with one common mission- to expose the corruption scandals they witnessed even if in so doing they were courting the "kiss of death".

    Finally Munyakei died a poor man in Kenya 's Narok Hospital on July 16, 2006. He was only 38-years-old, and the illness which killed him is treatable.

    Documented very well in Michela Wrong's book It's Our Turn To Eat, Munyakei was a tiny but vital cog in a machine that was eating up billions of shillings in taxpayers' monies, supposed compensation for non–existent gold shipments.

    Alarmed by the massive looting he discovered, Munyakei finally photocopied all the evidence he had on the Goldenberg scandal and leaked his information to the press, believing that he was playing the role every responsible citizen should play in fighting sleaze.

    The scandal exploded into the public domain when Kenya 's Daily Nation published a series of articles about Goldenberg-the company that pocketed close to $3billion from fake gold exports.

    Munyakei was accused of violating the Official Secret Act and was arrested by Kenyan police. After hearing the news, Munyakei's shocked mother suffered a stroke and died.

    Although he was finally set free after six months, his life was ruined, while those he tried to fight continued to prosper in Kenya. His plight demonstrates the difficult choices and the dim consequences that whistleblowers in Africa face.

    Munyakei's sad story resembles what Rukoijo went through during his tenure at the Central Bank of Tanzania. Working as the Deputy Director of Estate Management, Rukoijo sensed something fishy was going on in the plans of the Twin Towers, and he refused to follow the path of his bosses.

    He queried the skyrocketing cost of the twin towers project, which had originally been slated to cost $37million, but somehow ended up costing a whopping $400million.

    His refusal to follow his bosses' orders came with a heavy price, as he was removed from his position and transferred to an upcountry branch in Mwanza, where he spent two years more or less aimless, but earning millions of shillings in salary and other benefits.

    "They saw me as a thorn in their side and decided that, I should be kept far away from the headquarters so that they could proceed with their project," he told me back in 2006 when I was first pursuing the Twin Towers scandal.

    When I asked him whether he was aware that his actions could cost not only his job but also his life, he replied, "I know but I would rather die an innocent man than live as a thief and plunderer of public resources."

    "I feel so bad for being paid for nothing…I haven't done anything for the past two years apart from just reporting to the office everyday," he said back then.

    After Rukoijo went to the press, a series of stories on the Twin Towers surfaced, shocking not only lawmakers but even the president, who ordered the anti-corruption czar to investigate the scam.

    As his bosses kept pointing an accusing finger at him, Rukoijo resigned before the standard age of 60, and he continued to criticise the project now that he was no longer working with the bank.

    Rukoijo had previously only spoken to the press on condition of anonymity, but at that point he decided to reveal his identity to further strengthen his claims and bolster his credibility in criticising the scam.

    Once his identity was known, the BoT released a series of statements to the press defending the project and slandering Rukoijo, claiming because he had scored a lower second division at the University of Dar es Salaam he wasn't competent enough to understand the project's complicated budget.

    But the man remained calm and strong, insisting that he could stay patient until all those implicated in the scandal were arrested and prosecuted according to the law.
    "Almost all my colleagues who blindly supported the project have since been arrested and are in custody," he says.

    "When I criticised this project some people thought I was just jealous maybe because I was denied a chunk of the pie…But I took that stance because I knew that what was going on would one day land some people in prison, and I was right."

    "I'm in my 60s, I'm supposed to be enjoying my retirement benefits with my family, not toiling away in prison," Rukoijo says, without mincing words.

    Today, Rukoijo, a father of six, lives happily in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam where he still runs a construction firm to get by.

    "I would have made millions by supporting what my bosses wanted me to do, but it would have taken me nowhere," he says.

    "When I see where some of my colleagues are today, it makes me believe that I made the right choice."

  2. Alnadaby

    Alnadaby JF-Expert Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Honestly I have been moved by the story.Good persons of this calibre are rare to find.
  3. Junius

    Junius JF-Expert Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Hawa ndo wapapambanaji wa ufisadi wa kweli wanastahili kuitwa majamadari...vinara..wanastahili medali za heshima...unfortunately, kwa kuwa si wabunge au "wanene" medali watapewa mafisadi tu wanaojidai ku assume role zisizowastahiki.
  4. Sisimizi

    Sisimizi JF-Expert Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Ni kweli unachosema ndugu!
  5. Juma Contena

    Juma Contena JF-Expert Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    A man who stands on firm principles, is a man to be respected. Thanks for the post.
  6. s

    shabanimzungu Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Honesttly if we had 100 like him TZ would be a difffernet place............
  7. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

    Nov 18, 2009
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    Kumbu kumbu: FYI

    Anthony Rukoijo, an engineer who strongly opposed the project while working at the BoT as the director of estate development said early last year that, ``There should be thorough investigations about these towers because their cost is unjustifiable.``

    Rukoijo, who four years ago testified before the presidential commission formed to investigate the Twin Towers project, added: ``The team of both local and international quantity surveyors should be included in the investigation commission.``

    Mungu Ibariki Tanzania
  8. Jayfour_King

    Jayfour_King JF-Expert Member

    Nov 18, 2009
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    Always good people are few and in most cases are not getting public support, instead can be judged as sillies.

  9. Kaa la Moto

    Kaa la Moto JF-Expert Member

    Nov 19, 2009
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    Thread kama hizi huwezi kukuta wachangiaji wengi.
    JF bwana! unaweza kujiuliza kama hapa angelikuwa anazungumziwa mama Malecela post ngapi zingeshapita hapa? Lakini hao wabakaji wa hoja za wapiganaji wa ufisadi halisi ndio wanaonekana imara na si watu wa aina ya Rukoijo!
    Nadhani hata hawa wanaotoa tuzo uchwara ndio wanasababisha haya. Huyu bwana hasa ndiye anastahili tuzo na si wanaojiita wapiganaji dhidi ya ufisadi wakati wapiganaji halisi ni hawa.
  10. B

    Bwassa Member

    Nov 19, 2009
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    Mnaweza kuniona kama chizi, lakini lazima tuwe wakweli. Hivi "Fisadi" ni nani hasa, kwa kuwa tumeingia katika porojo za kisiasa na kuacha uhalisia wa mambo!
    Kwa mujibu wa Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu, Fisadi ni:- Mtu mbaya, mtongozaji, mharibifu, mpotevu, muasherati k.v. guberi; Guberi naye ni: malaya, mjanja, mfanya visa kiayari; Ayari naye ni: mtu mdanganyifu, mwongo, laghai, mzushi…
    Sasa tujiulize, nani Fisadi? Lowassa? Kama yeye kweli anastahili kuitwa hivyo, hivi mfanyabiashara mmoja nchini mzee wa zaidi ya miaka 70 anayependa umaarufu, mwenye vyombo vya habari vinavyoandika na kutangaza anayopenda kusikia yeye, mwenye chuki na wafanyabiashara wenziwe waliomzidi kete au wa rangi nyingine, aliyerubuni watu wajiunge naye na baadaye anawatelekeza, aliyemtelekeza mkewe, baadaye akaachana hata na "nyumba ndogo" iliyokuwa inamsumbua, sasa ana binti mwingine mdogo kuliko binti yake mwenyewe (Kanisa lake linajua na limemuondolea heshima ya kuwa Mzee wa Kanisa kwa kuwa hastahili!), aliyepewa kiwanja kwenye eneo muhimu jijijni Dar kujenga makao makuu ya kampuni yake lakini badala yake akakiuza tena kwa Mhindi, anayelaghai mara anasaidia Chadema mara ni mwana-CCM safi, je huyu naye ni nani? Ni mpiganaji wa Ufisadi au ndiye Fisadi mwenyewe? Tusidanganyike!

  11. G

    Gacheke Gachihi Member

    Nov 20, 2009
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    A good inspiring article....about Ufisadi.

    Mostly humbled by the story of David Munyakei, and Rukoijo, Munyakei....lived this Rokoijo wisdom that " I know I can be killed , but I would rather die innocent man than live as thief and plunderer of Public resources"....Where are the values that Mwalimu Nyerere left to young generation of Africa.
  12. t

    tarita Senior Member

    Nov 20, 2009
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    muulize muiran,je baba yake alikuwa na watumwa wangapi?
    Sasa hivi yeye mtoto himaya yake ya wizi ikoje?
  13. Mahesabu

    Mahesabu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 1, 2016
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    gharama za kuwa mwaminifu