Drop baseless cases, Samia directs PCCB

Monday March 29 2021
PCCB PIC

President Samia Suluhu Hassan prepares to receive the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau’s 2019/20 report from the PCCB director general, Brigadier General John Mbungo, in Dodoma yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday directed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to drop corruption cases which are baseless, as well as cases whose evidence has been cooked up.

The President’s statement was in response to a report by the PCCB Director General, Brigadier General John Mbungo, who said the government had emerged the victor in 271 out of the 381 cases that it had brought before various courts of law.

“The ones that you see have no basis should be dropped before they go to court... Saying we had 300 - and won only half of them, losing the rest is not a good image for the government,” she said.

President Hassan was speaking shortly after Brigadier General Mbungo had presented before her PCCB’s performance report for the 2019/20 financial year at the State House in Dodoma yesterday.

According to Mbungo, the PCCB had opened 1,079 case files in 2019/2020 alone. That number was higher than the 911 files opened in the preceding year.

The cases largely related to tax evasion, violation of laws on expenditure of public funds, non-payment of farmers’ due by agricultural cooperatives, exorbitantly expensive loans issued to unwary citizens by unscrupulous individuals/institutions, and misappropriations of development funds.

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Brigadier General Mbungo said 385 of those files related to bribes while 694 were on other offences.

“443 case files were forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), while 586 were sent to court. Judgment has been issued on 381 of the court cases, out of which the government won in 271,” he said.

In other words, PCCB had won 70.08 percent of all the cases it had taken to court in the 2019/20 financial year, up from 60.41 percent during the preceding year (FY-2018/2019).

In her remarks, President Hassan directed PCCB to look at the laws pertaining to the protection of witnesses in corruption cases and whistle blowers.

She applauded PCCB for recovering Sh96.02 billion in the 2019/20 financial year in its fight against misuse of public funds. The amount was an increase from Sh82.8 billion recovered in FY-2018/19.

“About Sh66.28 billion of the recovered funds were deposited in various accounts of the owning institutions and individuals. Sh29.74 billion was allocated to ongoing development projects,” he said.

PCCB also managed to recover properties valued at Sh146.63 million: 13 plots and six houses.

The Bureau also recovered farmers’ money amounting to Sh15.82 billion that was embezzled by agricultural marketing cooperatives (Amcos) across the country in FY-2019/20.

“Among other things, we discovered that there is a lack of transparency in Amcos operations.

“There is also inadequate human resource; management incapability, and flaws in preserving Amcos assets. These, in their totality, create loopholes for corruption,” he said.

The PCCB team also made a follow up on the assets belonging to the government and recovered 36 buildings to the Sisal board in Tanga, 72 plots in Lindi valued at Sh30 billion.

The recovery of the plots in Lindi was a result of an investigation over the Sh28 billion loan given by the Libya government through the TIB Development Bank to Maize Industries Limited for the construction of a cement factory in 2009-2014.

“Other government property recovered include the slaughter house in Dodoma which is currently placed under Livestock ministry, and saving over Sh15 billion which could be misused in the implementation of the Mbezi Louis project,” said Brig. General Mbungo.