We want to see the Lugumi contract itself - PAC

19Apr 2016
Felister Peter
The Guardian
We want to see the Lugumi contract itself - PAC

THE parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has insisted that it wants to see the actual contract signed between the Tanzania Police Force and a Dar es Salaam-based private company, Lugumi Enterprises Limited, for the supply of fingerprint scanners.

PAC vice-chairman Aeshi Khalfan Hilaly

The watchdog committee also said it would today expose hidden issues behind the controversial contract worth some 37 billion/- and make its recommendations to the government.

According to the PAC, quoting the Controller and Auditor General (CAG)’s audit report for the fiscal year 2013/14, there were serious shortcomings in the contract’s implementation.

PAC vice-chairman Aeshi Khalfan Hilaly said in an interview that yesterday (April 18) was the last day for the police force to submit the contract to the committee.
“We did write to the police requesting for the contract’s performance report”, Hilaly said, confirming that the committee members wanted to see the contract and examine it themselves.

His remarks come just days after parliament issued a statement saying that the PAC had not requested to see the actual contract between the police and Lugumi Enterprises, but only wanted to know the details surrounding the procurement deal.

But Hilaly made it clear that the committee does indeed want to scrutinise the contract itself.He said during today’s planned news conference in Dodoma, he will make public all key matters regarding the controversial fingerprint scanner deal before it is officially debated in the National Assembly.

According to Hilaly, it is vital for PAC to present its recommendations on the matter before it reaches the parliamentary floor.He said the PAC members met again in Dodoma yesterday to discuss the issues surrounding the deal.

“The public should be patient and wait for my address to the media. Everything will be uncovered”, Hilaly said.Meanwhile, the acting Clerk of the National Assembly, John Joel, said yesterday his office had not received any document from the police force in relation to the fingerprint scanner deal.

“We do not have anything from the police yet…but they still have time to present the required papers”, Joel said.The PAC was recently quoted as saying the contract was implemented by just 10 per cent despite already being paid for by about 99 per cent. The scanners were reportedly supposed to be installed in over 100 district police stations across the country.

The fingerprint technology was expected to significantly improve police efficiency in carrying out criminal investigations and positively identifying suspects.

Parliamentary sources say other high-profile individuals could also be implicated in the controversial deal if ongoing investigations unravel "hidden" faces behind it.

According to official records at the government's procurement watchdog, the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Lugumi Enterprises is registered as a provider of various procurement services to the government.

The services include supplying office stationery, firefighting equipment, office consumables and accessories, fumigation services and office equipment maintenance services.

PPRA documents show that the firm has over the years been awarded many lucrative contracts by government institutions, like a June 2010 deal with the Ministry of Home Affairs for the supply of ‘security goods’ worth 846.5 million/-.

The same company was also awarded a contract worth over 140m/- for the supply of stationery to the state-run Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in September 2014.