JPM sacks officials over ‘fake’ account for quake victims

Wednesday September 28 2016
JPM2

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Dar es Salaam. Two top officials have been sacked while another has been suspended for allegedly opening a dubious bank account through which to channel—for their own benefit—money from well-wishers intending to assist victims of the September 10 earthquake that hit Kagera.

Those whose appointments have been revoked by President John Magufuli are Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Amantius Msole and Bukoba Municipal Council Director Steven Makonda.

According to a statement released to the media by Director of Presidential Communications Gerson Msigwa, the Prime Minister has suspended the Municipal Council chief accountant Simbaufoo Swai for an alleged conspiracy to facilitate the unconscionable act of the two now-disgraced top officials.

The three are alleged to have opened a bank account bearing the same name as the bank account which was opened by the government to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake.

“The President has revoked the appointment of Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary Amantius Msole and Municipal Council Executive Director Steven Makonda after he learnt that the two opened a bank account which bears the same name as the one which was opened by the government,” reads the statement in part. It further reads:

“The three intended to use the account to collect money for their own benefit while it was meant to help the victims of the quake.”

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Speaking after receiving a cheque of Sh545 million which was issued to President Magufuli by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Majaliwa said the President has ordered measures to be taken against officials the fraudulent officials.

 “While security organs have been ordered to take stern measures against individuals involved in the conspiracy leading to the opening of the duplicate account, the President urge citizens and institutions to contribute by using official account under the name “Kamati ya Maafa Kagera,” PM Majaliwa was quoted as saying.

The cheque for the Mr Modi donation was handed over to the President by the Indian ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Sandeep Arya.

Mr Arya read a message which was sent to Dr Magufuli from India’s PM Modi. In the letter, Mr Modi says he and people in India have been saddened by the devastation that has hit Tanzanians in the wake of the Kagera earthquake that claimed more than dozen lives as well as destroying properties.

“We pray for patience among families which have lost their loved ones; we are assuring them that we are together with our friends in Tanzania especially during this hard time,” Mr Modi says in the letter.

For his part, President John Magufuli thanked Premier Modi and his government for the donation and the condolences, saying his government has been touched for the spirit of love shown by Asian country.

“Your Excellency Ambassador Sandeep Arya, please convey my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tell him that on behalf of my government, we thank him immensely for his donation to Tanzanians hit by the disaster in Kagera,” the head of State was quoted as saying, adding:

“Tell him, he has shown us the spirit of love and cooperation. We are comforted that our friends have been touched in an extraordinary way in the wake of the calamity that has befallen us.’

Following the September 10 earthquake which claimed lives of 19 people, the government and other stakeholders have mobilised resources to help the victims.

On September 13 the Premier hosted a fundraiser at State House that raised a total of Sh1.4 billion.

Neighbouring countries, namely Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, have donated various items for the victims.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over 4,000 iron sheets, 400 blankets and 100 mattresses, all valued at Sh115 million, on September 18. For his part, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni donated $200,000 (about Sh440 million). Burundi handed over 183 tonnes of foodstuff.

Initial reports from Kagera Regional Commissioner Salum Kijuu said the region needed Sh2.3 billion to purchase drugs, medical equipment and building materials.