Tanzania’s outgoing Controller and Auditor General Prof Assad says: “I will go farming”

Tuesday November 5 2019

Former Controller and Auditor General (CAG)

Former Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Prof Mussa Assad 

By Alfred Zacharia @azacharia3 azacharia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Former Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Prof Mussa Assad said on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, that he was now focusing his attention on agriculture.    

Speaking shortly after handing over the office to Mr Charles Kichere, Prof Assad said he had always been a farmer and that he started working on preparations for his farm two months ago.

President John Magufuli appointed Mr Kichere as new CAG on Sunday to replace Prof Assad who completed his one five-year term in office on Monday.

“I have always been a peasant. I feel happy when I eat food that’s been produced by my own hands. After retiring from this job, I will do farming,” he said.

He said he would go back to his village and engage in farming and livestock keeping activities, noting however that he would be a phone call away from those who may need his services in town.

“I am going to rest while doing agricultural activities but I will be available to whoever needs my services,” said Prof Assad who was in the company of his wife.

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He poured praise on his wife, saying she has always been with him.

“She is the one to tells me: Do not panic. Relax,” he said.

Prof Assad said upon receiving the news of the appointment of new CAG on Sunday that he was thanking in God in everything.

“Don’t be afraid of losing your riziki (livelihood) because only God provides riziki (livelihood) and in His Provisions [of riziki] rizk is infinite. So I thank God for everything. Alhamdu li Lahi (Praise be to Allah),” Prof Assad in a WhatsApp message yesterday.

Frosty relations

For the good part of the year 2019, Prof Assad has found himself on the receiving end of ‘attacks’ by Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai.

Earlier in January, Mr Ndugai ordered that Prof Assad should appear before the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee for interrogations over a statement he made in the US which the Speaker said was undermining the supremacy of the Parliament.

While in the US, Prof Assad held an interview with the United Nations’ Kiswahili Service, where he said his institution (the CAG’s Office) prepares audit reports – portraying that some money has been misused in some areas - which are to be worked on by the Parliament.

“If we are producing reports yet no action is being taken, to me, that’s the weakness of the Parliament….I believe it is a challenge that will be worked on….The Parliament is failing to exercise its responsibilities effectively” he said.

Following Mr Ndugai’s order, he was grilled after which, Mr Ndugai announced that the Parliament would not work with Prof Assad.

According to Section 6 of the Public Audit Act, 2008, the CAG shall hold office for the fixed term of five years and shall be eligible for renewal for one term only.

It states that unless removed in office through a legal procedure that’s outlined on Article 144 (3) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, the CAG shall only vacate office upon attaining the age of sixty five (65) years.

He may also vacate office when he resigns; by giving a six months’ notice; on account of medical grounds or any other ground which the President considers sufficient.

Mr Assad, who worked as Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Business School before his appointment as CAG, was born on 6th October 1961. This suggests that until November 3, 2019, Prof Assad was 58 years and 28 days old.

Article 144 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania states that the CAG shall be obliged to vacate office upon attaining the age of sixty or any other age which shall be prescribed by a law enacted by Parliament.

In this case, the law, enacted by the Parliament obliges the CAG to vacate office upon attaining the age of 65.

Article 144 (2) of the Constitution however says the CAG may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his office (either due to illness or to any other reason) or for misbehaviour or for violating the provisions of the law concerning the ethics of public leaders.

Should the need to remove him from office arise, then the President shall have to appoint a Special Tribunal to probe the reasons behind which the CAG is to be removed from office.

The Special Tribunal shall comprise of a Chairman and not less than two people. The members are to be person who are or have been Judges of the High Court or of the Court of Appeal in any country within the Commonwealth.

Article 144 (4) of the Constitution reads: “If the Special Tribunal appointed in accordance with the provisions of sub-article (3) advises the President that the Controller and Auditor-General be removed from office on grounds of inability to perform functions of his office due to illness or any other reason or on grounds of misbehaviour, then the President shall remove him from office”.

However, neither the Constitution nor the Public Audit Act, 2008 tells the appointing authority on the renewal of the tenure of the CAG who has only served his/her first five-year term and who happens to be below 65 years.

This gives room to the appointing authority to decide on its own volition.