CAG: Billions lost in local deals, dubious rents abroad

27Mar 2020
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
CAG: Billions lost in local deals, dubious rents abroad

​​​​​​​ACCOUNTING officers in local government authorities, ministries, parastatals and embassies abroad have been put on the spot after the report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for financial year 2018/2019 unveiled misappropriation of billions of shillings.

The report, which CAG Charles Kichere presented to President John Magufuli at State House Chamwino in Dodoma yesterday, revealed massive misappropriation of funds – with more than 14bn/- allocated to local governments not spent on the intended projects.

The CAG said at the televised event that some 1.13bn/- was swindled by dishonest officials during the period and about 1.52bn/- was used in various districts without approval from procurement boards.

The report also indicates Tanzania’s diplomatic missions abroad have been spending huge amounts of money paying rent to accommodate envoys.

In the year under review, Tanzanian embassies in Stockholm (Sweden), Brazil and Algeria spent a total of 1.56bn/- on rent, an amount which would have been enough to renovate their respective buildings.

According to the report, some 14 buildings bought by the government for its international missions have been abandoned.

These are in Geneva, Kinshasa, Washington, DC, Nairobi, Khartoum, Harare, Lusaka, Kigali, Nairobi, Maputo, Bujumbura and New York.

The report also points to misappropriation of funds by political parties., saying 300m/- out of 389.68m/- given to the Civic United Front (CUF) as a grant was transferred to a private account.

Of those funds, 69m/- was withdrawn from the party’s account without the knowledge of the party’s secretary general as required.

Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) meanwhile was reported to have spent 60m/- in refund to a tenant after terminating his contract, but without observing the law and laid-down guidelines.

The CAG also pointed out that, as of June 2019, the national debt stood at 53.11trn/- where internal debt was 14.86trn/- and external debt was 38.24trn/-, which comes to an increase of four per cent from the previous financial year.

A progress report by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) was also presented at the event , at which the president confirmed PCCB acting Director General Brigadier General John Mbungo as director general for a job well done.

Magufuli said the bureau and the National Audit Office had done a commendable job which called for support from the government.

The CAG’s report will be presented to the National Assembly for debate, but President Magufuli also directed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa to lead a team of government officials to deliberate on the findings of the report as well as the actions to be taken.

President Magufuli also used the opportunity to insist that the General Elections lined up for this October would be held as schedule despite the coronavirus disease outbreak.

“There are those who think I would reschedule the elections. The polls will take place as planned,” he said, adding that he expects to win a second and final term of office.

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