Govt calls on IGP to arrest unscrupulous traders

23Mar 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt calls on IGP to arrest unscrupulous traders

MINISTER for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba has called upon the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest all people who were involved in a consignment of cashew nuts which was mixed with substantial amount of stones.

MINISTER for Agriculture, Dr Charles Tizeba

In February, this year, a Vietnamese firm has estimated that it stands to lose at least 220m/- after stones were reportedly discovered in bags of cashew nut.

Dr Tizeba issued the directives yesterday here soon after receiving a report on cashew nut investigation from special parliamentary committee on the matter.

The minister tasked the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mathew Mtigumwe to come up with a list of such people for IGP to take measures.

“We want those people to be immediately arrested and interrogated on the matter and the law to take its course,” he stressed.

According to Tizeba, the list should comprise all people who were in-charge of transportation from points of sales, transport companies and those who loaded the cargo for shipping through the National Shipping Agencies Co Ltd, (NASSACO).

“This includes also names of government employees including those from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), who sealed the containers…” he said.

He revealed that the scam also involves some officials who are responsible for transferring containers from NASSACO to the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Limited (TICTS) and Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).

However, the minister claimed that farmers have for years being mixing their crops with stones, sand and aggregate although some buyers were not complaining.

“We are going to take measures that will end the problem. The crop is cultivated in 16 regions, we do not want to lose our market internationally”, he noted adding the government of Vietnam through its embassy in Dar es Salaam had officially complained to the government on the presence of stones in cashew nut consignments from Tanzania.

Dr Tizeba said the dirty cashew nut was said to be from Lindi Region but the 20 kilogrammes of stones which were mixed in the cashew nut sacks were from the Coast Region.

“It is not yet clear on who travelled to the Coast Region to collect the stones…last week, another container was discovered to have sand mixed with cashew nut at the Dar es Salaam port,” said the minister.

He said the report will be shared with other ministries and government institutions before the government issues a statement. He said the government through Ministry of Foreign Affairs will today meet with legislators from Vietnam to discuss the cashew nut scam.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee which was formed to investigate the matter, Khasim Mbofu confirmed that the cashew nut containers which were mixed with sand and stones were from Tanzania.

He said the committee was satisfied that the container originated from Newala in Mtwara Region. He said such problems have been happening over years as some farmers’ cooperatives in the region including Pangateni, Mnyawi, Nguvumoja and Mkiu villages were in the past years reported to have mixed the crop with sand.

In February this year, Members of Parliament asked the government to work on allegations that a consignment of 172 tonnes of cashew nuts exported to Vietnam contained 78 sacks which were mixed with aggregate and stones.

Tabling a January 2017 to January 2018 report in Parliament, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Water said it received complaints about the said consignment with concern.

The committee chairperson, Dr Mary Nagu told Members of the National Assembly that there were no complaints on cashew nuts exported to other parts of the world, except Vietnam.

Tanzania exported a total of 320,000 tonnes of cashew nuts to various countries during the 2016/17 marketing season.

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