The fate of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) director general Charles Ekelege who was suspended over embezzlement allegations a couple of months ago is still hanging in balance.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade on Sunday declined to specify the date for the completion of the ongoing investigation into the allegations levelled against the former bureau’s boss.
In an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam, the Minister, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, appealed for patience from the public. “I cannot give answers now...the probe team has not finished its assignment,” he said on telephone.
The Minister said he would consult a team conducting the probe to get details of the progress before issuing any public statement. “Just give us time...I have to consult the probe team first,” Dr Kigoda said.
The Minister suspended Ekelege during a familiarisation meeting at the ministry’s headquarters after numerous failed attempts to have him removed to pave the way for investigations into the 23bn/- scam which was unaccounted for and allegedly went to ghost agents subcontracted to inspect Tanzanian imports.
According to the minister, the suspension of the TBS director general was aimed at enabling the government to conduct a thorough investigation that would lead to other procedures.
Dr Kigoda directed the TBS board to suspend Ekelege with immediate effect following allegations raised against him in the parliamentary Parastatal Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) report.
The POAC report revealed that a bogus pre-shipment inspection has caused the loss to that tune to the government.
In their contributions to the CAG report in the Parliament in April this year, legislators exerted pressure on the government to sack the TBS boss for corruption and poor handling of the agency.
The 23bn/- scam is said to have led to importation thousands of substandard vehicles into the country.