Members of Parliament yesterday questioned the government on delays in investigating the controversial UDA purchase deal, which recently provoked heated debates inside and outside the House.
The MPs said the investigation was taking too long, considering the importance of the company in the wake of increased road congestion in Dar es Salaam.
“My committee has failed to start its probe on UDA-investors’ purchase deal, because the Controller and Auditor General has not finished its work on UDA books of accounts...the audit has taken longer than expected,” said Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma-North, Chadema), who also doubles as chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Organizations’ Accounts Committee (POAC).
“The delays have prevented POAC sub-committee’s investigation into the scandal,” he added in a supplementary question during the morning question and answer session.
The outspoken legislator pressed the government to give the timeframe—when the CAG would finish its work to allow the sub-committee to proceed with its probe on the multi-billion corruption scam.
The USD700m controversial purchase contract was signed by UDA directors and Simon Group Limited, a private investor.
Responding, the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Primary and Secondary Education) Kassim Majaliwa said CAG`s audit on the UDA books of accounts is still going on, and that the House and general public will be informed once the office is ready.
“The report on CAG will be announced...to allow POAC to continue with its investigation on the UDA corruption scandal. We should be patient,” the minister said.
He explained it is true that the Prime Minister has to conduct auditing on UDA books of accounts before the parliamentary watchdog starts its investigation, noting that “CAG is now proceeding with the task as per the Premier’s directives.”
In December last year, this paper reported that investigation into the Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA) sale scam was yet to start, as the parliamentary watchdog mandated to do the work was still waiting for CAG to complete the audit work.
“We cannot start our investigation without the audited report on the status of UDA,” Kabwe was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview by this paper.
POAC formed the sub-committee to investigate the contract, which was controversially awarded to the Group late last year, thus attracting criticism and outcries from MPs and the general public.
Protracted pressure by MPs and members of public, forced Speaker of the National Assembly Anna Makinda to commission POAC, under Kabwe, to conduct investigations into the UDA-investor contract to check if laid down procedures and regulations of privatisation of public utilities had been followed.
Subsequently, the Speaker advised Kabwe’s committee to wait until the CAG completed audit of UDA books of accounts.