Narrow escape over assets declaration forms

27Feb 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Narrow escape over assets declaration forms
  • President Magufuli proved that he would brook no nonsense in his crusade against corruption when five of his ministers almost lost their jobs over late submission of wealth declaration forms

FIVE ministers yesterday narrowly escaped President John Magufuli’s wrath after they submitted to the Ethics Secretariat their filled in wealth declaration forms at the eleventh hour.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa

President John Magufuli had read the riot act to the five ministers who were yet to submit the forms in compliance with the law for senior civil servants, ordering them to do so before sunset yesterday (Friday) or risk losing their jobs.

The president said the deadline for submission of the forms was February 26, 2016 at 1800 hours (yesterday evening).

Addressing reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said he had received a list of the errant ministers from the Ethics Secretariat.

He mentioned them as Minister in the Vice-President's Office (Union and Environment) January Makamba; Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Prof Joyce Ndalichako; Home Affairs Minister Charles Kitwanga, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Augustine Mahiga.

The other one was Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Union and Environment) Luhaga Mpina. However, it was established yesterday evening that Dr Mahiga submitted the forms at 4pm while Mpina was expected to submit them before 4pm yesterday.

When contacted for comment, Kitwanga said he had already submitted the forms, but expressed fear that the Ethics Secretariat may have misplaced them.

As the paper was about to go to bed it was learnt that Dr Ndalichako and Makamba had managed to beat the set submission deadline.

It was reliably learnt that the two ministers sent representatives to submit the forms as directed. Section 9 of the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act of 1995 requires every public leader to submit to the secretariat a written declaration of all property and assets owned by him/her and liabilities he/she owes or his/her spouse or unmarried minor children, within 30 days of taking office and at the end of each year.

Premier Majaliwa said that, as the law requires, public leaders must fill in the forms and members of the public with reasonable grounds to do so are allowed to go and verify the declarations.

On Thursday the Ethics Secretariat claimed that there were some cabinet ministers and deputies who had failed to declare their wealth as required by the law. A Commissioner of the secretariat, Judge (Rtd) Salome Kaganda, promised to submit the list of the errant ministers to the prime minister on the same day.

Speaking during a seminar for ministers and their deputies on Thursday, Kaganda disclosed that that there were some leaders who were providing false information on the assets declaration forms, forcing the secretariat to cross-check with various state organs to verify the information provided.

“This is where many people fail to understand our mandate because they are curious about knowing what their leaders own,” she said.

Judge Kaganda said they have been receiving complaints from members of the public about how some leaders were deliberately going against the law.

“For instance, there was a certain minister who ordered the permanent secretary in his ministry to give him money for his personal use.

When queries were raised, he responded that the permanent secretary was not the chief secretary to ask such a question. What kind of leadership is this?" she wondered.

The mandate of the Secretariat is to reduce the risk of conflict of interest and grand corruption among Tanzania’s political leaders and civil servants.

An ethical civil service and political leadership has been the cornerstone of President John Magufuli’s policy to rid the country of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

He himself, the vice-president and the prime minister filled in wealth declaration forms soon after ascending to power.