Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli on Wednesday dropped Dr Servacius Likwelile as Finance permanent secretary, replacing him with a key confidant, Mr Doto James.
The appointment caps the shining star of Mr James who was only named deputy PS in December 2015 when President Magufuli first unveiled his list of top technocrats in the new government.
Dr Likwelile leaves the ministry after long service during which he rose through the ranks to become PS in 2013 during the last term of Mr Jakaya Kikwete’s presidency. His last years in office were, however blotted by the Sh12 billion Stanbic government bond scandal.
Mr James now assumes the top position in the ministry after serving only for eight months as Dr Likwelile’s deputy. He is described as one of the few technocrats within the inner circle of President Magufuli and reportedly enjoys unfettered access to the Head of State.
Mr James worked as a senior official with the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) when Dr Magufuli was then minister for Public Works.
He later took time off from the agency to pursue a Master’s degree in Accounting in the UK before joining his former boss in the campaigns for the nominations of the CCM presidential candidate. He is an Economics graduate from the University of Dar es Salaam.
His appointment in December 2015, as deputy PS for Finance in charge of economic policy management, was thus not entirely unexpected.
Sources within the ministry of Finance told The Citizen on Wednesday that it was clear to many that it would only be a matter of time before Mr James would be elevated to full PS.
President Magufuli will swear in Mr James today at a brief ceremony at State House, Mr Msigwa said in the statement.
As for Dr Likwelile, it will remain to be seen what role, if any, he will be given as stated.
Several top government officials who have been relieved of their previous duties are yet to be alloted any.
Dr Likwelile was last year thrust into the limelight after some ministry of Finance top officials were named in documents by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as having been implicated in the scandal involving the government acquisition of $600 million (Sh1.3 trillion) bond through Standard Bank of UK.