CCM ready to task state organs on Zanzibar Airport deal

The new Terminal 3 building at the AAKIA

Summary

  • Last week opposition party ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe called for an urgent forensic investigations into the local ownership of the 35 percent shares of Dnata Zanzibar.

Unguja/Pemba. Ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi-Zanzibar has said it is ready to task state organs to investigate some of the claims that have been raised by opposition politicians on the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA).

Some of the claims include an alleged monthly payment of $70,000 to ground handling company Dnata Zanzibar as management fees and the manner which the stakes were acquired.

Speaking to The Citizen in a special interview at Kisiwandui, CCM’s Ideology and Publicity Secretary –Zanzibar Hamisi Mbeto Hamisi said that once the organs come out with their findings its only then that they can decide what to do.

“At the moment these are just mere allegations because there is no concrete evidence in the claims that ACT-Wazalendo has brought forward in the two rallies in Nungwi and Pemba,” said Mr Mbeto.

CCM's Ideology and publicity secretary- Zanzibar, Hamis Mbeto Hamis speaking to journalists at the party's headquarters in Kisiwandui.

ACT –Wazalendo’s claims

Last week opposition party ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe called for an urgent forensic investigations into the local ownership of the 35 percent shares of Dnata Zanzibar.

Speaking at Tibirinzi Grounds in Pemba, on Saturday, March 4, Mr Kabwe said the entire process of the acquisition of the stakes was dubious, questioning how the authorities allowed foreign nationals to own such shares.

“The law requires that when an investment of this nature is foreign owned should have a local partnership owns 35 percent but what we have discovered is that 35 percent is owned by some foreign nationals and a certain individual who is rather doubtful,” said Mr Kabwe.

He called upon the Zanzibar Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (ZAECA) to investigate the circumstances through which the stakes by a local company were acquired against the laws and regulations of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.

The  former Kigoma legislator also claimed that Dnata which is ZAA’s preferred ground handler at Terminal 3 whose operations was commissioned by President Mwinyi in January, 2023 was being  paid a monthly management fee of $70,000 (Sh170 million).

“This is quite a unique arrangement which is not anywhere in any of the other airports in the United Republic of Tanzania and what we have found out is that some of this money goes into the pockets of government officials,” said Zitto.

The Citizen reached out to the Zanzibar Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (Zaeca) director general to find out if they were aware of the alleged suspicious transactions as claimed by ACT Wazalendo.

However, emails and messages seeking clarification on the issue were unanswered.

“I cannot comment on this on phone,” said the director general

Dnata Zanzibar speaks

Responding to the claims, Dnata Zanzibar’s public relations team said in an email sent to The Citizen that the company complied with all applicable legal requirements to operate at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA) in Zanzibar.

“The Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) granted dnata Zanzibar a license to provide ground handling and cargo services at ‘Class II’ airports in the United Republic of Tanzania, such as AAKIA, following dnata Zanzibar’s compliance with applicable legal requirements,” reads the email.

It further stated: We will continue to work closely with the authorities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure continued full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations with respect to the execution and provision of our ground handling operations and services.

Regarding the alleged dubious identity of its owners the company said they had nothing to say.

“We have no further comment to add.”

In July, 2022, President Hussein Mwinyi defended the decision to award Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) a contract to operate ground handling services at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport Terminal 3, saying that all the due processes were followed.

In November 2021, Dnata signed a contract with authorities in Zanzibar to provide ground handling services at newly built Terminal 3 at the airport.

As part of the contract, two other Emirates’ subsidiaries, Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI will operate all 13 retailers and two lounges in the terminal. These include restaurant, duty free and commercial outlets.

However despite the awarding of exclusive rights at Terminal Three by Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) the company had to wait until late in 2022 when it acquired an operational licence and a concession which was granted and approved by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA)