Rostam Aziz now said to be `damaging` CCM reputation -Ruling party stalwarts asking more and more questions THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam CORRUPTION allegations surrounding business tycoon Rostam Abdulrasul Aziz, who holds senior leadership positions in Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), are damaging the reputation of the ruling party ahead of the 2010 general elections, according to ruling party insiders. The businessman-cum-politician currently serves as member of parliament for Igunga Constituency and member of the powerful CCM central committee, and was the partys national treasurer for a lengthy period in the not-so-distant past. It has however, now come to light that Rostams status is steadily dropping in the eyes of an increasing number of senior CCM leaders, who believe he is becoming more of an electoral liability for the ruling party. He mainly gained influence in the ruling party because of his various fund-raising abilities during election time. But he has now actually become an electoral liability for us, especially since he still occupies top leadership positions, an official close to the CCM top leadership hierarchy told THISDAY. It is no secret that Rostam has been thoroughly tarnished by allegations of corruption mounting up against him. In fact, he is now damaging the reputation of the ruling party ahead of the 2010 general elections, the official said. Another ruling party insider remarked: CCM can never dare ask him (Rostam) to address public rallies during election campaigns outside his Igunga Constituency. We know it would be a disaster because he is widely seen as lacking the moral authority to do so. A growing number of established CCM cadres seem to agree that the Igunga legislator has managed to maintain his leadership positions within the ruling party largely thanks to his strong influence among key members of the partys secretariat and other crucial party departments. They point to the fact that while at least three heavyweight political heads tumbled as a result of the Richmond energy generation scandal, Rostam was left largely unscathed despite also being heavily implicated. The scathing Richmond report led to the resignations of former prime minister Edward Lowassa, and cabinet ministers Nazir Karamagi and Dr Ibrahim Msabaha. But despite being linked alongside them in the report, Rostam has continued to hold on to his ruling party posts regardless of National Assembly-approved recommendations that all individuals implicated in the scandal should be dropped by both party and government. He became an MP in 1994 at the age of just 25. Some people now even describe him as a king maker due to the influence he apparently wields in the ruling party, said another political observer. However, his available public records are scant. According to the National Assembly website, he was born on December 31, 1969, and holds a BA degree in economics. The name of the university he attended is missing. On Rostams employment history, the Bunge website says he worked at unspecified periods in the following companies: Research on Business (managing director), Africa Trade Development (director), Africa Tanneries Limited (director), Tanzania Leather Industries Limited (director), and Caspian Construction Limited (director). Although his official CV links him to the above-mentioned companies only, Rostam has also been associated with more than a dozen other companies with little-specified business dealings. Allegations of his involvement in some especially shadowy companies started to emerge after he was associated with proven fraudulent companies such as Richmond Development Company and Kagoda Agriculture Limited. Though the infamous Kagoda company was used to loot more than 40bn/- from the Bank of Tanzanias external payment arrears (EPA) account, its owners have so far escaped indictment and prosecution by government organs. Karatu member of parliament Dr Wilbrod Slaa, from the opposition CHADEMA party, first linked Rostam to Kagoda in 2007 when publicly unveiling the infamous List of Shame. And although the businessman-cum-politician denied any links with the EPA fraud, it has since been established that the contact numbers of two other companies linked to Rostam were identical to that used by Kagoda. Afritainer Limited and Africa Trade Development, both of which are associated with Rostam, used the same Dar es Salaam-listed telephone number (2861371) and fax number (2861372) as those used by Kagoda. Similarly, Dowans Holdings company - which inherited the dubious Richmond company - used an email address similar to Caspian Construction, yet another Rostam stronghold. According to official government records, African Trade Development (T) Limited lists its directors as Rostom A. Sakarri, Rostam Sakarri, Rustom Aziz Sakarri, Rustam Sakarri and Rustam Sakaari. Another name associated with Rostam, Gulam Chaka alias Gulam Chakar, also appears as one of the shareholders in the controversial Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS). It has also emerged that while Rostam has publicly acknowledged that he is proprietor of media house New Habari Corporation which publishes Rai, Mtanzania, The African and other newspapers, his name does not appear in the companys official shareholders records. It is quite clear that this fellow likes to operate in a shadowy manner. Everything about him is a mystery - his birthplace, his true nationality, his education background, the number of legitimate businesses he owns, etcetera, said the CCM insider.