New queries over officials swept aside in JPM purge

Monday November 28 2016
pic swept aside in jpm purge

Dar es Salaam. In a space of one year, Tanzanians witnessed a massive campaign geared at restoring order in the public service.

The campaign saw hundreds of officials sacked over various reasons, but mainly on allegations of corruption, embezzlement and incompetence.

A year later, the question is: what has become of the officials who, as the Directorate of Presidential Communications likes to put it, “have had their appointments revoked”?

A few have been charged in court, but many others are redundant while they continue to enjoy partial benefits that cost taxpayers billions.

Kawe MP Halima Mdee (Chadema) told the Parliament recently that Kinondoni Municipal council alone is paying Sh2 billion in salaries to “sacked officials”.

According to Standing Orders for the Public Service, a public servant who is interdicted shall receive such salary, not being less than half of his salary as the disciplinary authority shall determine.

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“Where any disciplinary or criminal proceedings have been instituted and concluded against a public servant under interdiction and such public servant is not dismissed or otherwise punished, the whole of any salary withheld shall be restored to him upon the termination of proceedings…”

The Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) director general Valentino Mlowola says that his office is investigating all officials who were suspended on allegations of corruption, admitting, however, that it could take long.

The Citizen has traced some of the high profile sackings under Magufuli regime. In November last year, Premier Kassim Majaliwa made two unannounced visits to the Port of Dar es Salaam and revealed shocking details of tax evasion.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority could not account for Sh80 billion, which was allegedly unpaid, from the importation of 349 containers.

Consequently, nine TRA top officials including Commissioner General Rished Bade and his deputy Lusekelo Mwaseba lost their jobs. The other seven, including Commissioner of Customs and Excise Tiagi Masamaki were arraigned in December and their case is ongoing.

The fate of Mr Bade and Mr Mwaseba is unknown and their posts have already been filled.

Early last December, 13 TPA bosses were fired, including Director General Awadh Massawe, four other senior managers and eight inland container depots (ICD) supervisors to pave the way for investigations. To date, no disciplinary measures against these have been communicated and unlike in TRA, no one from the TPA has been arraigned.

Premier Majaliwa also made unannounced visit to Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) and found that about Sh13 billion had been misused. This and other scams in the transport sector led to the sacking of Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Transport Dr Shaaban Mwinjaka.

Also, the Managing Director of Reli Assets Holding Company (Rahco) Benhadard Tito was sacked in December in the wake of revelations of gross procurement flaws in awarding tenders of building Sh15 trillion standard gauge railway line.

In March this year Mr Tito, alongside Rahco’s former lawyer Emmanuel Massawe were charged with abuse of office and causing the government a loss of about Sh1.1 billion. Their case is ongoing.

In the wake of these revelations, President Magufuli then took a swipe at PCCB and sacked director general Edward Hoseah for inefficiency. In January, the President cracked the whip at the National Identification Authority (Nida) and sacked director general Dickson Maimu over questionable expenditure of Sh179.6 billion by the authority in the national identity cards scheme. Mr Maimu, together with seven other officials, are standing trial, charged for abuse of office and occasioning loss amounting to over Sh1.2 billion.

Up to then, the voice of Dr Magufuli in the war against corruption, especially when it came to “revoking appointments” was Chief Secretary Ombeni Sefue. Mr Sefue was first appointed to the job in January 2016 by the then President Jakaya Kikwete; President Magufuli reconfirmed him in the position in December 30 last year but he removed him in early March this year.

No reasons were provided by the State House for his removal but the President thanked him for easing the transition process from Kikwete’s regime to his and said he would be assigned other duties. Since October this year Mr Sefue, a career diplomat, is serving as chairman of board of directors at Centre for Foreign Relations.

In April, the President sacked Director General of Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Ally Yahya Simba after the authority was implicated in the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) 2014/15 for losing Sh400 billion yearly in mobile phone tax revenue. The fate of Dr Simba is still unknown.

Late in October, the President removed Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Diwani Athumani. Two weeks later, the former DCI was posted to Kagera Region as a Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS).