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CAG praises MPs, govt for acting on audit report

23rd May 2012
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The Controller & Auditor general, Ludovick Utouh

The Controller and Auditor General, Ludovick Utouh, has commended the government and the lawmakers for the steps taken to hold accountable government functionaries implicated in his last year report.

Speaking to journalists in a meeting to introduce a new technology designed by a US firm, Access Data to fight crime through networks (specifically in financial institutions), the CAG said MPs and the government have played their role in ensuring that there is discipline for public expenditure.

He said after his office had submitted the report, there wasn’t pressure from any organ to kick out the ministers until the MPs started to debate it through the parliamentary standing committee reports.

Utouh who had already released six reports of the audited public funds before the debate started, said that his office was determined to fight embezzlement of public funds, especially expenditure of money which has not been approved by respective authorities, including the National Assembly.

He said his office has established a project inspection
section which will audit the councils’ funds directed to projects, an area in which misuse of public funds is rampant.

“I am not the one who pressed for the removal of the ministers. It was the report, which no one wanted to discuss until after the National Assembly gave it a critical look,” Utouh said.

The CAG said that the National Assembly and the House of Representatives could make the war against corruption successful and thus build a sound basis for good governance through their committees.

On the new technology, the CAG said Access Data Company from the US is supposed to provide thorough education to financial institutions before they start using it in the fight against network crime.

Early this month President Jakaya Kikwete reshuffled his cabinet, leaving out six cabinet ministers and two deputies, who were implicated in the CAG report.

The reshuffle came following intense pressure from both the ruling and opposition party lawmakers, some of whom went to the extent of threatening to cast a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, if the embattled ministers were not kicked out of government.

Those who lost the President’s confidence are Finance minister Mustafa Mkullo, who was replaced by a new face, Dr William Mgimwa, William Ngeleja, whose position was taken over by a new appointee, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, and Transport minister Omari Nundu, who was replaced by Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, who was promoted from the Ministry of Works where he was deputy minister.

Other ministers who were removed are Natural Resources and Tourism minister Ezekiel Maige, whose portfolio was filled in by former Home Affairs deputy minister Khamis Kagasheki, Industry and Trade minister Cyril Chami, who vacated for another new appointee, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, and Health and Social Welfare minister Haji Mponda, whose position was handed over to Dr Hussein Mwinyi, the immediate former minister for Defence and at one time deputy Health minister.

President Kikwete said he had decided to make the changes upon receiving a report on the heated debate in the National Assembly during the April seating in Dodoma, where seven ministers were strongly accused of being irresponsible, resulting in the country losing billions of shillings through malpractices, including embezzlement and outright theft.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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