Mpango orders investigation into rumoured theft network

Tanzanian Vice President Dr Phillip Mpango (right) getting a brief on NMB's participation in the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project from the bank’s acting Western Zone manager Ferdinand Mpona (left) during a ceremony to lay foundation stone for the construction of 165km SGR lot IV (Tabora – Isaka) yesterday. PHOTO|COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The order comes in the wake of rumours alleging SGR workers, police officers and businesses are part of the theft network, hence stalling construction

Dar es Salaam. Vice President Philip Mpango has instructed the country’s security and law-enforcement officers to investigate and arrest a theft network syndicate that stole from the standard gauge railway (SGR) project.

The order comes in the wake of rumours alleging SGR workers, some dishonest police officers and businesses are part of the theft network, an act which stalls the progress of the construction.

Speaking shortly after he had officiated the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Tabora-Isaka railway, a 165-kilometre high-capacity and high-speed railway meant for passengers and freight transportation, Dr Mpango condemned sabotage acts against the project.

“There is reliable information regarding theft of construction materials. These thieves are just like other criminals who sabotage the country’s economy. I am ordering security organs to deal with them,” he ordered.

Adding: “Even those who buy construction materials stolen from this project should also be arrested and face the music because such acts are uncalled for. It is unfortunate that there are some police officers who are involved in such illicit acts. They too, should be arrested.”

Dr Mpango was of the view that the alleged dishonest officers should be dealt with according to their command.

Furthermore, the Vice President explained that the sixth phase administration, under the leadership of President Hassan, has committed itself to improving the country’s infrastructure.

“Under the guidance and leadership of the President, the sixth phase administration is heavily invested in improving the existing meter-gauge railway system as well as construction of the new SGR,” he observed.

Adding: “These will ensure the provision of quality transportation services within the country as well as connect the country with its neighbours thus creating a conducive business environment that attracts more investments.”

Therefore, Dr Mpango urged: “I am calling on you to keep working hard as you always have as well as maintaining peace, harmony and tranquillity in the region and the country at large hence ensuring the country’s economy flourishes.”

On the other hand, the vice president thanked the ministry responsible for Infrastructure and the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) for supervising one of the country’s most strategic projects.

The project, which marks an important milestone for Tanzania’s infrastructure, will cost Sh2.07 trillion with Turkish company Yapi Merkezi expecting to complete the project in 2026.

Minister for Works and Transport Makame Mbarawa explained that the contractor has already been paid 15 percent of the project’s total value and that the project is crucial in building the economy.

“The project will create employment and expand the economy. It will also ease and reduce the cost of doing business. For instance, when completed, it will take between 26-36 hours to transport cargo from Dar es Salaam port to DR Congo,” he cited.

According to him, currently, businesses transporting cargo can take up to 30 days to reach other countries in the east and southern regio from the port of Dar es Salaam.

The Tabora-Isaka section is part of the 1380 kilometre SGR and is worth Sh23.3 trillion, of which Sh7.4 trillion has already been paid to construction companies executing the project.