The National Assembly has convicted the besieged permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, David Jairo for ordering departments and agencies under the ministry to contribute Sh50 million each towards the facilitation of the approval by Parliament of the ministry’s 2011/12 budget estimates.
Tabling the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee formed on July 15 to investigate the legitimacy of the practices, committee chairman Engineer Ramo Makani (CCM- Tunduru North) said the select committee also convicted Chief Secretary Philemon Luhanjo for clearing the embattled permanent secretary.
Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Ludovick Utouh was also found guilty of deliberate failure to discharge his responsibilities appropriately when he was asked to give advice based on the auditing he conducted, on the basis of which Luhanjo cleared the beleaguered permanent secretary.
Due to such malpractice, the select committee has ordered the government to take disciplinary measures against Jairo for abuse of powers, collecting and misusing public money.
The select-committee wants the government to take what it described as ‘appropriate measures’ against the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for his deliberate decision to mislead the public.
Chief Secretary Luhanjo not spared as the report wants appropriate measures to be taken against him for defending Jairo. Luhanjo was told a press conference that Jairo had not committed any offense that merited disciplinary action.
Makani told the House that an inquiry conducted by the Select Committee established that a total of Sh 140 million was contributed by three institutions out of four agencies ordered to do so.
He mentioned the institutions that contributed as the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) that contributed Sh40 million, the Rural Energy Agency (REA) that contributed Sh50 million and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) that also contributed Sh50 million.
The report stated that TPDC contributed the money from government gas revenue. When TPDC management officials were quizzed by the Select-Committee over the contribution made it was noted that the management disbursed the money to an account number of the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST), an autonomous agency, without approval of the board.
The TPDC management in its defense to the Select- Committee said; “the management thought it did not have any other choice in the matter since in its view, failure to make the contributions could bring about a series of consequences. However, since the corporation has no money, and this item had not been budgeted for, the management saw it fit to pay the money requested out of government gas revenue.”
As for REA, the investigation revealed that the money contributed came from Preparation of REA Business Plan and Budget vote. As for Tanesco, the amount contributed was deducted from the vote of Donations and Subscription while EWURA chopped off Sh9. 7 million from the vote allocated for public education.
He said that despite Jairo asking Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) to contribute Sh 40 million, the authority refused to heed the call, instead it opted to finance lunch for three days of the seminar worth Sh3,456,000 and also foot the bill worth 6.1 million of the would-be fete that was expected to be held on the evening of the day that the budget estimates of ministry would have been passed.
In addition to the money contributed by the three institutions, two other departments under the same ministry contributed a total of Sh 428 million, bringing the sum of money contributed and channeled through Account No. 5051000068 of GST Dodoma Branch to Sh 568.8 million.
During investigations it was revealed that out of Sh568 .8 million only Sh171.5 million was a justifiable amount since it came from the ministry’s other charges vote (OC) allocated specifically for financing seminars and tabling of the budget estimates in the House. In that sense, the remainder of the money contributed amounting to Sh418.08 million was intended to be spent in facilitating approval by Parliament of the ministry’s 2011/12 budget.
In trying to find out how Sh418.08 million contributed was spent, the Select- Committee found out that a total of Sh32,425,000 was spent settling the seven days per diems to 69 ministerial officials who had travelled to Dodoma for seminars and budget preparation from July 7 to July 14.
Surprisingly enough, a total of Sh127.8 million was spent in settling five-day sitting allowances to 243 civil servants who also traveled to Dodoma from July 14 to July 18, contrary to the statement from the permanent secretary that only 61 civil servants were supposed to travel to Dodoma .
Also it was revealed that a total of Sh 17.4 million was paid to African Dream Conference Centre Limited as food and beverage costs for 160 people for five days.
The forgery of receipts for cars was also noted as it was revealed that 15 cars of officials were driven to Dodoma . The report states it was leant that a car that was a a car with registration No STJ 9429 used 230 litres of fuel in single day while in Dodoma.
It was revealed in the report that Minister for Energy and Minerals Willian Ngeleja and his deputy Adam Malima signed Sh4 million each as entertainment allowances for a single day.
The shocking revelation came in the aspect of sitting allowances paid to civil servants and MPs who attended the ministry’s seminars in Dodoma. For example, a person who was paid Sh20,000 as sitting allowance, it ended up appearing as Sh120,000 in documents while Sh50,000 appeared as 150,000 and Sh80,000 appeared as Sh180,000.
Members who contributed to the report said the state of affairs in the government was appalling. They said it appeared the government was rotten, asking for special scrutiny to be conducted in all ministries.
When the Select Committee asked Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Mustafa Mkulo to give explanation over the arrangement crafted by Jairo, he said: “the whole transaction, the whole issue was not proper within the accounting system and within government fiscal systems. It was outside the government proper system.”
After deliberating on the report, the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Good Governance), Mathias Chikawe asked Parliament to let the government work on the document before giving out answers in the 6th Parliamentary meeting slated for January 31, 2012.
The Select- Committee consisted of five legislators, Engineer Ramo Matala Makani (Tunduru North-CCM, chairman), Reverent Israel Natse (Karatu-Chadema), Gosbert Blandes (Karagwe-CCM), Martha Umbulla (Special Seats-CCM), Khalifa Suleiman Khalifa (Gando-CUF).