Govt to reinforce corruption watchdog workforce

27Feb 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt to reinforce corruption watchdog workforce

THE government is determined to recruit 400 personnel for the anti-corruption watchdog in the coming financial year, boosting its workforce to combat the vice in the country, Angela Kairuki, the minister responsible for good governance has said.

Minister of good governance has said, Angela Kairuki,

Speaking in a special live programme aired by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) television station on Thursday night, Kairuki reiterated the government’s strong commitment to fight corruption, saying that in the past 100 days since the fifth phase regime attained power, significant actions have been realized.

She said the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has within 100 days done a commendable job with registration of 70 new cases involving corrupt deals, it has won over 40 cases within the period under review and more than 65 cases given a green light by the state’s prosecution authority.

“Investigation of corruption cases is taking a new pace. But we need to enhance the PCCB workforce, increase working facilities and embark on a new phase of combating corruption that would take on board various stakeholders, including the private sector,” Kairuki, who is the Minister of State in the President’s Office, responsible for Public Service Management and Good Governance has said.

She explained that the focus would be to strengthen supervision of local government project funding where most of development projects are being channeled. In the current financial year, for instance, 269 projects worth billions of shillings were implemented by various local government authorities.

Most of the projects have been found with serious challenges, including apparent embezzlement of funds that includes inflated expenses.

“As we reflect on these projects, we have to ensure we have a strong and efficient team at district levels to pursue expense legitimacy to those projects,” she said. “As of now, you find that a district has at least three PCCB officials who are a small number to handle a growing number of corrupt deals. We would like to see that number of officers increased to at least six to each district.”

On the other side, the minister expressed her discontent with huge disparity of salaries and other benefits to workers of the same ranks and positions working in various government ministries, departments and agencies.

“Some of them get big salaries, but same work the only difference is that one works at a ministry, the other at a government agency. The committee responsible for civil servants’ benefits would look into it and provide its recommendations,” she noted.

She sent a strong warning to those engaged in corrupt deals and amasses wealth which they cannot even prove how they got it. The minister said the government will deal with all civil servants who are required to list their wealth but they give force information.

“We have realized that there are a big number of civil servants who cheats on the information of the assets they own. We are going to work on the legislation to make it obligatory for them to declare their assets and any failure to do that or cheat is liable before the law,” she noted.

“We have realized that officials such as those working for PCCB and TRA [Tanzania Revenue Authority] cheat on reporting the assets that they own. But since they are government agents on sensitive matters, they may likely fall into corrupt deals through back doors. So we need the law for dealing with such officials as well.”

However, she appealed to the public that for those who would be aware of such officials with questionable assets in their possession, should not hesitate to report such concerns to the commissioner responsible for ethics who will refer the matter to the ethics council.

On, ghost workers, the minister said there was a significant drive towards wiping them out of the system. Within 100 days of President John Magufuli’s presidency, at least 2,000 ghost workers have been discovered through the help of National Microfinance Bank (NMB) and CRDB Bank, saving a total of Sh70 million that was supposed to be paid as salaries.

On Salary arrears, Kairuki said during 2014/15 financial year, a total of 56.2bn was paid to government workers and in the past 100 days, Sh5bn has been paid. The remaining amount is on various stages of evaluation.

She however cautioned administrative officials to avoid unnecessary transfer of employees or making any employees’ promotions without ensuring that there is available budget to cater for those issues.

“We will also take stern measures on human resource officers who delays uploading into the system the particulars of new recruits. The delays are not right to both the government and the employees themselves,” she explained, adding that these were the motive behind remuneration areas being incurred by the government today.