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The Sh 48 billion question

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by BabuK, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Jun 26, 2011
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    As the world struggled with the economic crisis, so did Tanzania, which finally doled out Sh1.7trillion ($1.1billion) as a stimulus package to bail out the economy, which at that time was nursing the wounds of the global recession.
    But it seemed as if the government was busy with the bailout package, human sharks were simultaneously sharpening their skills on how to benefit from the stimulus package funds.

    The government was cautioned, but it seemed all the warnings fell on deaf ears. In a country clouded with so many scandals ranging from Radar scam to Central Bank’s Twin Towers, it raises eyebrows to hear that about Sh48billion of taxpayers’ money may have been misused or stolen by the culprits.
    Nearly eighteen months since the stimulus funds were doled out, about Sh48billion have been stolen using fake documents in the very same method the Bank of Tanzania’s External Payments Arrears(EPA) billions were looted in 2005.
    According to documents seen by The Guardian on Sunday, some cotton ginning companies cooked their books of accounts in order to get extra payments, while others used forged documents to get billions from the Treasury.
    For instance, The Guardian on Sunday has reliably established that three companies that pocketed about $4million claiming to be cotton ginning firms and exporters in Shinyanga and Mwanza have never exported even a kilo of cotton let alone owning a ginnery in the Lake zone region.
    One Mwanza firm was supposed to get a bailout of $800,000 as specified by the bank that audited the losses resulting from the plunged cotton prices at the world market in 2008/9, but was paid $2million.
    Following the theft of stimulus package billions on Friday, Simanjiro legislator, Christopher ole Sendeka, took the government to task, demanding a thorough investigation of the Sh48billion theft.
    Contributing to the 2011/2012 budget speech of the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday evening, Ole Sendeka said he received reports that Sh48billion was unaccounted for out of the allocated Sh1.7 trillion.
    Speaking amid applause from other MPs, Ole Sendeka blamed the CCM-led government for turning a blind eye to people siphoning public money that could have been spent in other areas beneficial to the public.
    He said it was imperative for the government to take tough decisions against embezzlers of public monies, adding that failure to do so would imply that the government was part of the dirty game.
    “The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed in his report that Sh48billion is unaccounted for…We need thorough clarification from the government on how the money was spent,” Ole Sendeka confidently stated.
    Ole Sendeka’s claims came amid reports from Kigoma North MP Zitto Zuberi Kabwe that MPs were denied access to documents by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs that showed how the stimulus package fund was spent.
    About two weeks ago, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda told the House that he was not aware of the report that MPs were denied access to the said documents.
    It would be remembered that some politicians and economists such as CUF National Chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba had warned of mismanagement of the fund.
    Prof Lipumba had smelt a rat over the administration of the fund, saying it was possible that some briefcase companies would emerge to claim for compensation while in actual sense they did not do any business.
    The MP blasted the government for being hesitant to take tough decisions against people or companies mentioned to have illegally siphoned public money from public coffers.
    Giving an example, Ole Sendeka said it was unbecoming for some individuals associated with Kagoda Agricultural Ltd. to be walking tall in the streets despite being mentioned in the list of companies that siphoned Sh133billion from the Bank of Tanzania ( BoT)’s External Payment Arrears ( EPA).
    He went further by blaming the government for its failure to take stern measures against individuals who have plunged the nation into bad contracts.
    Sendeka who has been vocal in his party due to his strong stance on corrupt leaders, added that it was high time the nation came up with legislation that would provide for the nationalisation of all the property of individuals who acquired it in suspicious circumstances.
    The MPs mentioned Meremeta and Deep Green Finance scandals as cases that needed crystal clear answers.
    Ole Sendeka was supported by Nzega MP Dr Hamis Kingwangwalah who said poor contracts that the government entered with some international mining firms provided a proof that public leaders lacked patriotism.
    He cited Nzega Golden Pride Mine Ltd as a case in point, saying the contract was exploitative on the part of surrounding communities.
    He said foreign investments in the mining sector in the country have turned out to be a curse as communities surrounding the mines were subjected to land grabbing by the multinational companies without proper compensation.
    Worse still, he said, the proceeds gained from the mining activities in Nzega had no benefits to the surrounding community. He said despite the precious resource in Nzega, the surroundings communities were facing acute shortage of water with no helping hand from investors.
    “After getting access to the Nzega Golden Pride Mine Ltd contract I asked myself if indeed our public leaders are patriotic towards their nation. In this contract there is no win-win situation,” said Dr Kingwangwalah while holding a copy of the contract.
    The MP issued a warning that if the government did not rectify the state of affairs, he would mobilise his electorate to take action, including stopping the company from mining.
    He said if the government has failed to come up with a proper arrangement that would ensure the surrounding communities benefit, it would be proper to leave the minerals un-extracted for future generations.
    Several mining firms operating in the country are facing hard times in their operations as the surrounding communities have been complaining of being mistreated, including being denied access to the precious resources.