Cashewnut Board of Tanzania chairperson Anna Abdallah yesterday stood in Parliament to counter allegations leveled against the board by opposition MPs that it has embezzled Sh 2 billion in export levy meant for developing the cash crop.
Ms Abdallah (Special Seats-CCM) said it was inconceivable for a person to level such serious allegations in the august House.
According to Ms Abdallah, Sh 15 billion in export levy was collected from the crop and the board was given Sh 2 billion that was sent to the cashewnut stakeholders for developing the sector.
“What I can tell this House is that the board received Sh 2 billion from the total collection of Sh 15 billion in export levy and the money was sent to crop stakeholders,” she emphasized.
While presenting opposition views on the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives on Friday, Shadow Minister Rose Kamili said between October last year and January this year the board received Sh 2 billion in export levy but instead of allocating it for crop development programmes the board indulged in embezzling it through effecting payment of hefty allowances to board members during meetings.
Ms Abdallah also moved to defend board member Mudhihir M. Mudhihir against the charges that during the board meeting held on November 29, 2011 in Dar es Salaam he also invited his wife to the meeting while she is not a board member. During the meeting, Ms Kamili claimed, the ex-MP’s wife received Sh 875,000 broken down as Sh 200,000 as sitting allowance, Sh 300,000 for transport allowance and Sh 375,000 as per diem.
Ms Abdallah countered that Ms Mudhihir was paid such amount as helper to her husband, considering that Mudhihir suffered severe injuries in a motor accident four years back when serving as MP for Mchinga.
“As you might be aware, Mudhihir was involved in the accident some years back in which he sustained disability, compelling him to have a helper. Now, this helper turned out to be his wife who did not even enter the board meeting venue. Now, where is the problem?” she demanded.
However, what Ms Abdallah did not explain is the payment of Sh 200,000 made to Mrs Mudhihir as sitting allowance since such money is paid to a person who participates in a particular meeting.
The board chairperson also defended the double payment totaling Sh 3,100,000 made to Jerome Bwanausi for a single meeting, saying the board member (Bwanausi) had performed other duties a day before.
According to the speech read by the shadow minister on Friday, Jerome Bwanausi received a total of Sh 1,550,000 through a payment form dated November 28, 2011 and a similar amount paid via a form dated November 29, 2011.
However, the board chairperson did not deny charges of hefty payments to board members.