Mwakyembe gives PCCB a piece of his mind THIS DAY Kyela member of parliament Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has hit back at the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) over its reported investigation of MPs expenses, saying the governments anti-graft watchdog appears to have a personal vendetta against some legislators. Mwakyembe accused the PCCB of deliberately targeting certain members of parliament in its probe into allegations that some of them received double payment of allowances. He criticised the anti-graft body for failing to similarly investigate major corruption cases, citing the Richmond power generation scandal and the mystery behind Kagoda Agriculture Limited, the top beneficiary company in the massive looting of funds from the Bank of Tanzanias external payment arrears (EPA) account. Mwakyembe, the Kyela MP on a ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ticket, was chairman of the parliamentary select team that investigated the Richmond contract and came up with a particularly scathing findings report in February last year. Amongst other things, the so-called Mwakyembe committee report came down heavily on the PCCB for its failure to properly investigate obvious corruption allegations in the Richmond deal. Speaking at a media conference here yesterday, Mwakyembe said: "As a lawyer who is well-versed with individual rights as stipulated in the constitution, I will never have audience with PCCB to discuss trivial issues instead of giving serious consideration to issues of real concern to our nation. Let's find out who are the people behind Kagoda, who really owns Richmond, and the answers to other serious questions, instead of talking about lunches given to MPs while on duty," he added. He was directly reacting to a report in yesterdays issue of the Mtanzania daily Kiswahili tabloid, which claimed that the MP was in deep trouble with the PCCB with regard to an ongoing investigation of expenses claims involving a number of legislators. Mtanzania is published by New Habari Corporation Limited, a private media company owned by Igunga member of parliament Rostam Aziz. Stated Mwakyembe: "Such hatred-driven publications (i.e Mtanzania) will never force me to go against my conscience. It will never change my focus in fighting corruption. I respect media houses that support the national drive to uproot corruption. I am determined to fight corruption in its totality, and cant be deterred by anyone hindering national prosperity to the masses for the sake of a few individuals enriching themselves through crooked ways." Rostam was among a number of high-profile individuals implicated in the Mwakyembe committee report on the Richmond power generation scandal. Others included former prime minister Edward Lowassa and ex-Cabinet ministers Nazir Karamagi and Dr Ibrahim Msabaha, who were all forced to resign from government in light of the committees findings. According to Mwakyembe, the PCCB is now deliberately trying to silence legislators in general through irrelevant interrogations. He challenged the Bureau to file charges against him in court over his refusal to cooperate in the MPs expenses investigation. He further asserted that a network of corrupt politicians is seeking to remove him from parliament by getting him unseated as MP for the Kyela constituency in Mbeya region, and added: "Still, I am confident that Tanzanians are not easily fooled these days. People can differentiate credible leaders from self-centered, corrupt leaders. I know hundreds of copies of this newspaper (Mtanzania) will be sent by airfreight to Kyela and distributed free of charge to the people. But this doesnt cause me to have sleepless nights...I am determined to push on in this fight against corruption." He described the ongoing PCCB investigation into MPs expenses as a waste of time and no more than a politically-motivated move.