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As Committee clears Ngeleja

20th November 2011
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Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja

Despite a move by some members of Parliament calling for the resignation of the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, it turned out that the Parliamentary probe committee cleared him of any wrong doing in David Jairo’s fund raising scam.

Earlier, some MPs called for the resignation of Minister Ngeleja as part of taking political responsibility, while others including the author of the scandal, Beatrice Shellukindo, opposition leader in the house Freeman Mbowe, Christopher Ole Sendeka and Anne Kilango defended him.

Those calling for his resignation led by Muleba North MP Charles Mwijage said he should take political responsibility by resigning immediately following the tabling of the report, which directly implicated to three government executives.

Kahama legislator, James Lembeli (CCM) said it is very sad that corruption has entered into the State House. He said that it isn’t fair for a reputable person working in the State House to clear a corruption culprit through media.

“I don’t understand the reasons why was Jairo cleared from this mess. Corruption has turned into cancer, HIV/Aids…these people have eaten all the fillets…”he noted.

Lembeli questioned on why Ngeleja warmly welcomed Jairo back to the office while knowing he was still investigated.

Head of opposition camp in Parliament, Freeman Mbowe advised the government to take measures against all those implicated. He said, “We want all those involved to be held responsible and not Jairo alone”.

Ngeleja (pictured) should resign for agreeing to sign the entertainment allowance totaling Sh4m”, he said adding that there wasn’t a reason for 243 people to be in Dodoma during budgets. Singida East MP, Tundu Lissu (Chadema) told Parliament that Luhanjo and Jairo should be treated as criminals. He said all those implicated should also be given the same treatment.

Lissu mentioned other ministry officials who were also given allowances, including Igunga MP, Dr Dalaly Kafumu (CCM) who received Sh540,000. He urged Prime Minister to advise President Jakaya Kikwete to take measures against the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and appoint a committee to investigate him.

But, debating the report yesterday, Madam Beatrice Shellukindo was the first MP to reveal the fund-raising scam in Parliament, defended the Minister saying he wasn’t implicated by the Parliamentary Probe Committee.

“I would like to be fair about Honourable Minsiter and therefore I don’t see any reason why he should resign for an offence he never committed at all.” The Kilindi legislator told the Parliament, stunning some of her colleagues.

Kilindi MP, Beatrice Shelukindo (CCM) said the minister’s resignation wouldn’t be a solution to corruption problems facing the nation.

Anne Kilango also joined the Ngeleja defense team urging her fellow MPs to fight for the reform of the current system that gives too much power to the Permanent Secretaries, while leaving ministers with ceremonial positions. “Let’s fight for the reform of this system instead of calling for political accountability…Our problem is not the Minister but the system.” Same East legislator told the House yesterday.

Same East legislator, Anne Kilango Malecela (CCM) advised the government to review its administration system as it gives too many powers to the Permanent Secretaries. She said there is proof that some permanent secretaries do not communicate with their ministers.

“Permanent secretaries have super powers on financial matters. You should review this system to allow the ministers to have powers on financial issues”, he said.

However as some MPs called for the resignation of the Minister and his deputy, it turned out that the Probe Committee has cleared them of any wrong doing during its investigation on the Jairo’s fund raising scandal.

In report tabled by Parliamentary Committee page 119 and 120, the probe committee established that though the Minister was the overall in-charge of the ministry, he was excluded in financial affairs by the Public Finance Act of 2001.

The Act, according to the Committee’s report, gives full authority to the Permanent Secretary as the controller of financial affairs, excluding the Minister and his deputy.

The Parliamentary Probe Committee also recommended that the Act be amended to include the Minister in the matters of financial affairs management at the ministry in order to increase accountability and transparency.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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