These are the same people whose policies destroyed many countries in this World IMF chief backs Kikwete on EPA Correspondent in Washington Daily News; Sunday,August 31, 2008 @18:01 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has supported the government for measures taken in dealing with over 133bn/- embezzlement of Bank of Tanzania (BoT) External Payment Account (EPA). The IMF Managing Director, Mr Dominique Strauss-Khan, lauded the government in dealing with the EPA scam during talks with President Jakaya Kikwete at the Omni Shoreham Hotel here over the weekend. The scandal involved fraudulent payment of about 133bn/- made by BoT to 22 firms in the 2005/06 financial year, involving the repayment of the country's external debt. The scam claimed the then Governor of BoT, Dr Daudi Ballali, who died in the US a few months later, as its first casualty. Dr Ballali was fired by President Kikwete in January, this year, after he was implicated in investigative reports carried out by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and an international accounting and audit firm, Ernest & Young. Mr Strauss-Khan said his organization had confidence in President Kikwete's leadership and expected that all pending issues in the EPA saga would be effectively concluded. President Kikwete met the IMF Managing Director on his last day of three day state visit to the United States at the invitation of President George W. Bush. President Kikwete briefed the IMF chief details of the EPA scam and measures taken by the government, including recovery of some funds. "We're greatly satisfied and congratulating you for the way you handled the issue. "This thing can happen anywhere in the world. What is important is the way it is being handled. And you have handled it very well, with competence and professionalism of the highest order," Mr Strauss-Kahn noted. The IMF Managing Director said most countries had faced similar problems, but none managed to recover such huge sums of money. "The EPA case is now closed in as far as IMF is concerned," stressed the IMF Managing Director. He promised to assist Tanzania in putting in place water-tight systems to avoid such incidents in future. President Kikwete promised the IMF chief that he would not be ready to see such a thing (EPA scam) happening again in Tanzania. President Kikwete also said that the task now was to rebuild the image of Tanzania's central bank, saying such institutions were sensitive and of crucial importance to the country. The IMF praises came a week after President Kikwete explained in detail in Parliament how the government handled the EPA scam. The president told the legislators on August 21 that owners of firms involved in the scandal had their passports seized and property confiscated. He said suspects in the EPA account embezzlement scandal who fail to return the looted funds by October 31 this year, will face criminal prosecution. The president, however, did not specify whether or not the government has offered some form of amnesty deal for those EPA scandal suspects who do return the looted funds. President Kikwete declared that the government will take custody of the recovered EPA funds and use them to finance an expanded fertilizer subsidy programme for the agricultural sector. He said part of the recovered EPA monies will furthermore be channelled towards re-capitalizing the state-owned Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB), to start offering loans to farmers.