The new Board of Directors of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has been directed to investigate allegations leveled against the director general Charles Ekelege over massive corruption in pre-shipment vehicle inspection.
The directive was issued yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Cyril Chami when launching the new Board.
He said a lot has been said against the Director General which needs detailed information from both parties to enable the government to make a decision.
“I direct this new Board to investigate the matter thoroughly and come up with information which would make things known to the public,” he said.
Dr Chami said the board should carry out the investigation as soon as possible and findings and recommendations should reach him early.
He urged the Board to convene a meeting between members of the Parastatal Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC), Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the TBS boss to get details from both parties.
“I would prefer to get the investigation report before the end of the next Parliamentary session in April this year,” he stressed.
He said the government wants to clear the air on the issue and that the best way was for the Board to work on it.
He noted that as the Ministry their responsibility was not to investigate the matter, but to direct the board to do the job.
“As you know this issue has taken a long time for the government to make a decision because TBS did not have a board of directors until recently when President Kikwete appointed Oliver Mhaiki the new chairperson,” he added.
POAC acting chairman Deo Filikunjombe told a recent meeting of the House committee that the bureau under the leadership of Ekelege had lied to the team by telling it that it (TBS) owns and runs vehicle inspection offices abroad.
“We traveled abroad to inspect those offices - going to Singapore, Hong Kong and in China - as per information from the bureau’s management, but what we saw were worlds apart from what we had been told (by TBS),” he said.
According to Chami, POAC members toured the countries in August last year, but since then had not presented any report to his office concerning their findings.
Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, John Cheyo, was quoted as saying Ekelege once took them to an office that was not meant for vehicle inspection, adding: “That happened when we went to Singapore and Hong Kong where, after questioning him, he said that it was only a temporary office.”
Chami urged the new board to implement efficiently execute its responsibilities and stress proper management of quality of products in order to improve the economy.
In order to make the organisation autonomous he said there was a need to make it more responsive to the market.
“We want to see this organisation deliver, expand its services and reach a cross section of Tanzanians particularly entrepreneurs,” he said.
He said TBS should also ensure that the packaging technology centre is implementing its activities and serving all people inside and outside the country.
“Sometimes we feel bad when we see that most of the packaging materials are imported, while we can make our own, to reduce costs and increase income to the government,” he said.
For his part, Mhaiki, said the board would fulfill all directions and recommendations made by the Minister as soon as they can.
“I want to assure the minister that my board will do what we can to implement all that you have asked us to,” he said.
However Mhaiki requested the government to support the Bureau in order to improve its performance in its daily operations.