TRL officials to stand trial soon

07Feb 2016
The Guardian Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
TRL officials to stand trial soon

Five top officials from Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) suspended last April amid allegations of their involvement in a dubious deal to purchase 274 faulty wagons may soon stand trial to answer corruption charges following completion of the investigations into the case.

Last April former Minister of Transport Samwel Sitta suspended TRL’s Managing Director Kipallo Kisamfu, Chief Engineer Ngosomwile Ngosomile, Chief Accountant Mbaraka Mchopa, Internal Auditor, Jasper Kisiraga and Chief Procurement Manager, Ferdinand Soka on suspicions of corruption and economic sabotage over the purchase of wagons.
The Permanent Secretary for Transport, Leonard Chamuriho told the media in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the anti-corruption squad, Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has completed investigations into the Ballat Hopper Boggie Wagon case and had submitted the findings to the Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) for further actions prior to legal proceedings in the court of law.
It was alleged early last year that TRL had violated public procurement procedures of 2014 in purchasing the wagons, causing the government a loss of more than $28m (Sh60bn) by purchasing substandard 274 wagons from an Indian-based company, Hindustan Engineering and Industries Limited.
At issue were the three-category wagons, namely 174 covered large bogie wagons, 50petrol bogie wagons and 50 container carrier large bogie wagons.
The announcement came only a day after the parliament had barred Chadema Special Seat MP, Jesca Kishowa from attending the remaining parliamentary sessions for being unable to prove her statement that the purchased wagons were fake.
The former Kigoma South MP, David Kafulila wrote to the House Speaker, Anne Makinda calling for tabling to the parliament the report on the controversial purchase of the wagons.
But Minister Sitta had already noted that decision to suspend the implicated officials came following an investigation on the procurement of TRL substandard wagons.
He said apart from a number of blunders discovered by the probe committee, it was established that t the procurement of the carriages was done in defiance of the contract that required the payment be done in installments.
"Contrary to the agreement, the payment for the substandard wagons were honored once, the contractors were paid all the money at a go. This is contrary to the agreement," he said.
The report revealed that most of the wagons were defective and could no longer function. The committee also established that there was prevalence in the follow-up at the factory where the wagons were manufactured.
Meanwhile, the wagon deal dearly cost TRL last year as it failed to accomplish its target plan to transport 3million tonnes of cargo goods, only to find itself transporting mere 300,000 tonnes, according to the new Director General, Masanja Kadogosa who was previously at the Tanzania Investment Bank TIB.
But the Acting Deputy Secretary of Tanzania Railways Authority Workers Union (TRAWU) Sheikh Shuhuli said the substandard wagons coupled with lack of standard gauge hindered them from reaching the set target cause an enormous loss to the firm to incur huge losses.

However, it was not immediately established yesterday as to how much the company had incurred a loss in terms of financial numerations.

In March the same year, Minister Sitta suspended importation of the remaining 124 passenger and freight wagons supplied by the Indian firm, pending a report by a taskforce that was mandated to investigate into claims that they were defective.
TRL Company was established in May 2007 and started its operations five months later under the ownership of RITES of India and the Government of Tanzania through 51% and 49% shareholding respectively.
Currently the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is the sole proprietor of the company effective July 2011.