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Was Tanzania Govt Flight Agency involved in a corrupt aviation deal scandal?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by nngu007, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    The last months of the recently concluded Tanzania general elections were awash with media reports that high profiled politicians and Tanzanian government officials were flouting the Country's laws and election regulations by using public resources for political campaigns.

    The media presented in details what they described as ‘solid evidence' as to how the ruling party-Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and its Presidential aspirant Mr Jakaya Kikwete had nourished on his ‘incumbency' as the President of Tanzania to use public resources during his presidential campaigns. (The Tanzania Election Monitoring Report (TEMCO) has also expressed this observation in its interim election 2010 monitoring report released shortly after the elections)

    Other political parties, jumped on to the media's band wagon crying foul and arguing that the CCM was enjoying state benefits at the expense of tax payers money.

    They recommended that the NEC should intervene and disqualify the CCM Presidential Candidate for having breached the Political parties Act, the Election code of conduct and Election Expenses Act. All these Acts and regulations bar political candidates from using public resources and facilities like government vehicles etc during the campaign.

    It all started in August with reports that state had used government funds to procure CCM election material. The reports later surfaced in a detailed article in the Mwanahalisi Newspaper (August, 11-17, 2010, pg 2) that the CCM had spent government resources to print CCM's presidential campaign posters.

    The article detailed intercepted email communication between top state house officials (Mr Salva Rweyemamu- State House Director of Communications), Mr January Makamba ( Presidential political Adviser) , Mr. Abdallahaman Kinana (CCM Campaign manager) and a one Ramji, representing Mediapix International Ltd, a Canadian registered firm.
    The firm whose address was in Canada had its operations in China, had been contracted to print CCM materials including Presidential aspirants posters and campaign gear at a cost of USD1.5 Million (Equivalent to Tsh 2.17bln). The contract between CCM and Mediapix International Ltd was signed on 22nd June 2010 and witnessed by a leading Canadian law firm, Jane Barvey Associates of 300 Borough, Toronto- Canada
    According to contract, the government was supposed to pay 50% (USD750, 000) by end of June 2010 and the balance would be paid by 7th July 2010. Two payment vouchers number MPX/CCM-TZGOV2010/2713 and MPX/CCM-TZGOV2010/2717 were sent to government by CCM on the 22nd of June 2010. These invoices were for the payment of 600,000 colour posters for the CCM Presidential contestant.

    The funds were supposed to be remitted the Royal Bank of Canada, located on plot 571 Sandulst Circle, Scarbourg, Ontario MIV 1V2, telephone number 416 292-6701. The taxes on these funds and the entire transaction were supposed to be paid in Canada.

    According to the media reports and sections of the invoices availed to the tracker the alleged communication was consistent and spread over a period spanning way back in June 2010.

    One intercepted email clearly indicates instructions from state house to Mediapix International Ltd in regards to how the payments would be processed and how the posters would be used.
    In an email said to have been written on the 3rd of July, 2010, at 6:04: 46sec, Mr Salva was quoted to have responded to Mediapix's representative a one Mr Sarakikya saying "I have already spoken to our chairman, Mr Kinana (Chairman of CCM Campaign team) and Mr Ramji about your issue and the Chairman has accepted but under the following conditions: You will use the President's picture for posters only and not for any other purpose and communication will continue to be highly confidential and a secret". Mr Salval was responding to an earlier email by Mr Sarakikya sent to State House on the 3rd of July, 2010, at 2:20: 11sec expressing concern on the quality of the photographs that had been sent to Mediaprix for printing on the posters.

    Since the surfacing of this article, the government has never clarified on the matter, leaving the public to believe that actually, the government could have been involved in a shoddy political deal Shortly after the media reports, new accusations surfaced that the CCM presidential aspirant and members of his campaign team had used government flights and ambulances during his election campaign trips. The reports were followed with detailed written evidence and photos taken during the Presidential campaigns in Mwanza during which an ambulance from Bugando hospital was taken on the site of the Presidential Campaign. An interview with the district medical officials also confirmed that actually the ambulance had been deployed to take care of any emergence during the presidential campaign.

    The ruling Party CCM dismissed the media reports as baseless allegations and strongly argued that it was[​IMG]

    footing all the bills of their 2010 general election campaigns. It further chased away media organizations from covering its campaigns under arguing that the media was unnecessarily prodding into its campaign bills.
    According to CCM top officials, the party was fully and lawfully meeting the costs of the Presidential aspirant and his campaign entourage, including the cost of the first lady, Ms Salma Kikwete.
    In separate interviews, the CCM Secretary General, Yusuf Makamba and CCM Publicity Secretary Mr John Chiligati said the party had financially prepared for the campaign in advance through party fundraising events and was lawfully spending money from legitimate CCM coffers and members donations.

    In a media conference, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi Presidential Campaign Manager Mr Kinana presented detailed explanations and receipts of expenses incurred in purchasing motor vehicles and hiring government aircrafts to fly around the Presidential aspirant and the entire CCM Campaign team to various destinations across the Country.

    However the presentation of the receipts and invoices to support the ruling party's position appears to have raised more questions than answers. Since then many people are still asking for answers and clarification on the entire deal which appears to involved a key government flight agency and the state house.

    According to Mr Kinana, the CCM lawfully purchased a fleet of vehicles to move around the Presidential Candidate and his entourage during the campaigns. In order to facilitate rapid transport and mobility, the ruling party had lawfully hired aircrafts from Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA) and paid all the costs as required. Mr Kinana presented to the press invoices from TGFA as evidence to support the party's expenditures.
    The emerging questions were and are still on the minds and lips of many are: Does the TFGA have mandate to hire its flights to private individuals outside government official duties

    According to Mr Kinana the TFGA has been hiring out government aircrafts to private individuals on many occasions and hiring to CCM was not unusual. The emerging question is, was this a proper procedure that any body could hire government aircrafts for a price? Why has the CEO for the TGFA never come out to clear the air on this matter?

    Is either CCM or the CEO willing to present detailed information in regards to how many private individuals and companies had hired the government aircrafts before?

    Was the invoice presented to the media and circulated widely to public a forgery? How could a key government agency like the TFGA make glaring mistakes in preparing the invoice by indicating contradictory dollar sign and shilling sign at the end of 15,000 figures on the same document? (See photo in the article)

    Was the cost of USD 3000 per hour an inflated price as it cost the ruling party a cool USD 15,000 for the five hours said to used by CCM or was it that the time spent with the government aircrafts was more than five hours? Was someone illegally benefiting in the process?

    Was this document fabricated by political opponents aimed at tarnishing the CCM's election camp by defaming their election campaign manager, the CCM Presidential aspirant and the state house?

    Since then, no government official has ever commented on the saga leading to the public to question whether government was involved in a corrupt aviation deal.

    It is because of the public interest that these reports have generated that Tanzania Corruption tracker chose to document this, hoping that the responsible officials would offer proper clarification and clear the air in regards to how politician were separating political campaigns from legitimate government business.

    Without detailed explanations from relevant authorities, the current public opinion is that some key government officials and departments could be misusing their powers, recklessly hiring out government property to private individuals, forging or improperly writing invoices to their customers and in the process fleecing government revenue. The government needs to clarify on this matter