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Tanzania: Ex-Minister, Aides Face Probe

President John Magufuli has ordered the Preventing and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to conduct a thorough investigation into the dubious 1.2trl/- deal between the Ministry of Home Affairs and a Romanian firm.

Speaking at the swearing in of newlyappointed ministers and ambassadors at State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday, President Magufuli directed the PCCB to investigate into the matter without fear and take to task those involved regardless of their status.

The dubious deal, led to the sacking of the former Minister of the docket Mr Kangi Lugola, the Commissioner General of Fire and Rescue Force (CGF) Thobias Andengenye and the resignation of the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Major General Jacob Kingu, who was later on appointed ambassador.

President Magufuli eventually appointed George Simbachawene as new Home Affairs minister last Thursday, with Ilala legislator Mussa Azzan succeeding Simbachewene as Minister of State in VicePresident's Office (Union and Environment).

Simbachawene's first assignment would be to invalidate the dubious Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) his predecessor allegedly signed with the Romanian based firm, worth of 408m Euros.

It was apparent at the swearing-in event that President Magufuli had all details on the deal, as he disclosed how some top officials from the ministry participated in the negotiations and preparations of the deal.

He handed over relevant documents to Mr Simbachawene, tasking him to painstakingly go through the docs and cancel the deal.

The Head of State said further he was aware that a lot of people had their hands in the suspicious deal, whose negotiation started last year and became more serious in July.

"This should be your first assignment," ordered Dr Magufuli as he presented the documents of the signed MoU to the minister.

The disputed pact, according to the president, was well known to the fired minister (Lugola), the deputy Permanent Secretary Mr Ramadhan Kailima while the deputy minister Mr Hamad Masauni had little knowledge on it.

He further revealed that the just sacked minister couldn't inform the President or cabinet on anything, but in the end wrote to the president, asking him to approve the deal.

"How can I approve something that I have no idea? ... and look at the value of the MoU, it is really shocking," explained the President. "The deputy minister was being provided with some minutes of the meetings but he was ignoring them, I wonder why he couldn't report, but the deputy permanent secretary participated in all the processes," said the head of state. "... Now I want the deal to be revoked immediately, I know Mr Simbachawene is a lawyer, my hope is that you will deliver," added President Magufuli.

President Magufuli again expressed his dismay over the performance of the Home Affairs docket, which he said has been at the centre of many crooked deals that have rocked the country in recent years.

He demanded swift action from the new minister, urging him to go and clean the docket by rooting out bad woods or demote the culprits.

The president insisted on the importance of revamping the home affairs ministry, instructing Mr Simbachawene to make the necessary changes that will bring positive impact.

On board, he reminded all government officers that they should never apply any loan without consent from the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

"I urge you to work cooperatively with all security forces under the ministry, but you can also get rid of or demote anyone to improve efficiency," instructed the president.

Giving his remarks before the president's speech, Mr Simbachawene pledged to work diligently to ensure that the vision is attained and that his portfolio will meet the expectations.

He acknowledged awareness on challenges facing the docket and that he was well prepared to cooperate with staff members on his daily activities.

"I know that there is separation of power and it is clear that there is only one Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, the entities we have under the ministry will be handled both professionally and administratively, I'm into that," he said.

Mr Simbachawene who has been moved from the Vice President's Office (Union and Environment) where he served since July last year expressed optimism that there are very good personnel within the forces falling under the ministry.

Together with Mr Simbachawene, other appointees who took oath were the Minister of State in the Vice-President's office Union and Environment Mussa Azzan Zungu and three diplomats.

The list of diplomats who took oath with their centres in brackets has Ms Maimuna Tarishi (United Nations in Geneva Switzerland), Prof Kennedy Gaston (United Nations-New York in the United States) and Mr Hussein Katanga who is going to Japan.

On his notes to the diplomats, Dr Magufuli reminded them to represent well, Tanzania as they have been trusted for the job.

In the same note that was mentioned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, Dr Magufuli asked the diplomats to clear the image of Tanzania that is sometimes being tarnished by few people.

For his part Mr Zungu apart from thanking the president for appointing him into the cabinet, pledged to work on challenges that have been facing some investors and improve efficiency.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Vice-President Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, who asked Mr Zungu not to forget about issues of the union and that he will have to tour both parts of the union to familiarise himself with challenges that are within the portfolio.

This article was originally published on Daily News.


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