Ministry names team to probe JK travels money
18 juin 2012, The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
By Bernard Lugongo
Dar es Salaam. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has put together a team to probe the controversial withdrawal of Sh2 billion from its account.The money was part of Sh3.5 billion the ministry received from the Treasury to finance President Jakaya Kikwete’s travel to Addis Ababa and Arusha.
But there have been allegations that some officials withdrew the money in March this year in the absence of the minister, deputy minister, permanent secretary, deputy permanent secretary and the chief accountant of the ministry.
Yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told journalists yesterday that the money was deposited back into the ministry’s account. No assumptions should be made that the money was stolen, he added, because it did not leave the ministry’s offices.
"After we took the money from here (ministry) back to the account,” he added, "we formed a team to investigate whether the officials followed financial and administrative procedures to withdraw the money.”
The team comprises officers of the Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau and Criminal Investigation Department alongside the ministry’s internal auditors. "Once the team accomplishes its task, we will make the outcome public,” said Mr Membe.
The probe was revealed after recent media reports that Sh3 billion meant for presidential foreign trips had been stolen.In another development, Mr Membe spoke of Tanzania’s report to the African Peer Review Mechanism task force, which was in the country to assess the country’s status in democracy and good governance.
He criticised media reports that the country would not present its report to the African Union (AU) since it owes the APRM arrears in contributions. "Even though the country is in debt, it will present its report,” the minister said. "We were just awaiting a feedback from the APRM team which came to assess the country.”
Tanzania will present its report in February next year. On one of its assessment trips early this year, the APRM expressed concerns about good governance in the country. The team was sceptical about the country’s ability to achieve Vision 2025 if it did not seriously address governance shortcomings, particularly corruption and land grabbing.
A member of the APRM panel of eminent persons, Mr Akere Muna, said at the end of the tour that there were still concerns about the country’s prospects of achieving its development goals.
Mr Membe also highlighted the recent meeting held in the United States which brought together African countries and America over the relationship between the two parts under the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa).
Agoa was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on 18 May, 2000, with the objective of improving trade and economic cooperation between the US and eligible Sub-Saharan African countries.
The recent Agoa meeting focused on the importance of infrastructure for development, which was deemed crucial because the sector was the backbone of economic growth and intra-trade. "We need to focus on developing infrastructure so that we promote regional integration and inter-regional trades,” Mr Membe said.
Turning to local politics, he said multi-party democracy should not be defined as "parties being enemies” if the country wishes to maintain peace, but real multi-party democracy should be taken to mean that parties can embrace political competition and promote their agenda.
"From my experience,” he added, "any country that turns the political opposition into an enemy of the ruling party has never stayed peacefully. An enemy of the party always exists within the particular party and not outside the party.”
He also denied recent media statements that he had forecast that the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo would win the 2015 general election.