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MPs query 12bn/- cost of Dar airport`s VIP lounge

20th April 2012
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Leader of the Opposition camp in the House, Freeman Mbowe

More scandals are being unveiled regarding Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL)’s misappropriation of 12bn/- with respect to the construction of a VIP lounge at JK Nyerere Airport in Dar es Salaam, which leader of the Opposition camp in the House, Freeman Mbowe, described as 'an ordinary building' which is certainly worth the claimed amount.

In his supplementary question Mbowe, who is Member of Parliament for Hai (Chadema), pressed the government to allow the Controller and Auditor General to make a special audit of the project to uncover how the funds were spent, as according to him, the whole process smelt of corruption.

Mbowe had wanted the government to state clearly how it spent 12bn/- on the construction of the lounge, which would have cost just 3bn/-.

“According to the government’s statement, it allocated 3bn/- for the project and CSIL set aside 9bn/-. I think the money set aside by the government was enough to cater for the project because the lounge is just an ordinary building, which didn’t need all that amount of money,” said Mbowe.

“This project was between our government and the company costing about US$8 million, which is equal to 12bn/-. This is a huge sum of money,” he stressed.

The government constructed the lounge in collaboration with a Chinese firm, China Sonangol International Limited (CSIL’), at a cost of US$8 million, equivalent to 12bn/-.

The government contributed US$3 million, equivalent to 3bn/-, and CSIL provided US$6 million, equivalent to 9bn/-.

As the leader of the opposition was asking for CAG's intervention, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda, ordered instead the government to issue a statement in Parliament stating how the funds for the construction of the lounge were spent.

By the time the Speaker was giving a ruling, the Chief Whip, William Lukuvi, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) was preparing to stand up to respond to Mbowe’s demand. But he was forced to back down after Makinda’s ruling.

In the principal question, Kigoma North Member of Parliament Kabwe Zitto had wanted the government to state the development of the project after the agreement with CSIL. He also wanted to know the contribution of the government to the project after the agreement with the Chinese firm and the fate of the construction of Terminal III.

Responding, Deputy Minister for Transport Athuman Mfutakamba said already measures had been taken to ensure Terminal III was built at JK Nyerere Airport.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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