Tanzania must come down hard on the corrupt few


JF-Expert Member
Feb 11, 2007
The EPA audit that was conducted by Ernst & Young should have covered 2000 to 2006 instead of 2005 to 2006.

Tanzania must come down hard on the corrupt few


As Kenya bleeds after a political crisis following the December 2007 elections, Tanzania is experiencing what amounts to economic sabotage.

The main difference is that, in Kenya people were killed or maimed, while property was needlessly destroyed.

At the end of it all, Kenyans can rebuild destroyed properties and establishments like the Constitution and other democratic landmarks. But, it will never recover those who died in the process.

FOR TANZANIA, THE STORY IS DIFFERENT, but tragic all the same. Debate is raging, and feelings heating up within formal institutions (like Parliament) and outside them. The subject is corruption in high places.

Recently, the government released to the public safe portions of the findings of an independent audit of the central bank. These were obviously sanitised so as to present the relevant authorities and officials involved in the best possible light.

But, like everything that is already rotten, that effort was practically wasted. As it is, hounds of good governance are baying for blood. These include sections of the press, the Opposition and the country's development partners within the international donor/creditor community.

The audit of the Bank of Tanzania by Ernst&Young revealed that over Tsh133 billion ($127 million) had been misappropriated from the bank's External Payment Arrears Account in one year (financial year 2005/06.

However, there are those who dispute this figure saying that over Tsh1.3 trillion ($1.2 billion) has been misappropriated over the last five years. Quite aa colossal sum for impoverished Tanzanians.

They also claim that more people are involved in the theft than have so far been hinted at. These include principal officials of the government, stalwarts of the ruling party, and a small business clique, all obviously working in collusion.

This being the case, they ask: Why was the audit not comprehensive, covering all vulnerable accounts over a longer period? The logical consequence of the negative revelations would be a fuller audit to terminate what is clearly a malignant cancer.

SECONDLY, WHY HAVE THE SHELL Companies and individuals involved not been burned in effigy, so to speak? They all were named in the Audit Report, and are known at the BoT, the local banks/bureaux-de-change, and licensing authorities ? unless there is a colossal conspiracy to cover up and protect each other. To his credit, President Jakaya Kikwete sent BoT Governor Daudi Ballali packing, and ordered criminal investigation into the mess. In theory, observers say, this is sensible. But in practice, they see this as just another whitewash intended to paper over the cracks and further secure the cover-up.

CREDIBILITY OF THE INVESTIGATING Authorities is at its lowest today because of their ignoble track-record regarding grand crime. The police and the anti-corruption bureau have not been known to be illustrious in the past, and there's nothing to show they will distinguish themselves now.

Nostalgia brings to mind how Premier Edward Sokoine handled the economic sabotage issue in the early 1980s, formidably descending upon perpetrators with an iron fist. This is what Tanzania sorely needs today.

Indeed, what is going on in Kenya and Tanzania makes Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi look like heaven by comparison. What a shame!

Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar. E-mail: lyimok@gmail.com
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