Magufuli sends transport PS, port bosses packing in corruption purge

Wednesday December 9 2015

Tanzania's newly elected president John Magufuli delivers a speech during his swearing in ceremony in Dar es Salaam, on November 5, 2015. President John Magufuli on Wednesday has announced a lean cabinet of only 19 ministries, 11 fewer compared to the last government. PHOTO | DANIEL HAYDUK |

Tanzania's newly elected president John Magufuli delivers a speech during his swearing in ceremony in Dar es Salaam, on November 5, 2015. President John Magufuli on Wednesday has announced a lean cabinet of only 19 ministries, 11 fewer compared to the last government. PHOTO | DANIEL HAYDUK | AFP

DAR ES SALAAM, Tuesday

Tanzania Ports Authority Director General Awadhi Massawe and board chairman Joseph Msambichaka have been sacked.

President John Magufuli also sent the Permanent Secretary for Transportation, Dr Shaban Mwinjaka, packing.

The port was under his docket.

The axe fell as the President sustained pressure on corruption and lack of accountability in the public sector.

The sackings and the disbandment of the board follows a crackdown on tax evasion at Tanzania’s largest port, that has been denying the government billions of shillings in income every year.  

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said a recent inspection revealed that Sh13 billion has been misused, hampering operations at the Tanzania Railways Corporation.

The President’s decision was communicated on Monday by Mr Majaliwa at a press conference in his office in Dar es Salaam.

KEY REVENUE SOURCES

The new Head of State is seeking to streamline the port and the Tanzania Revenue Authority, seen as key revenue income areas for the cash-strapped government.

The PM said Dr Magufuli acted due to the failure to address other deep rooted administrative flaws at the port.

Other than those sent packing by the President, Mr Majaliwa announced the dismissal of four senior port officers and eight middle-level managers.

He directed that all the 12 be arrested to help in the investigations to recover billions lost in tax evasion.

A total of 25 port officials have so far been dismissed.

Mr Majaliwa who was flanked by Chief Secretary Ombeni Sefue warned that the administration would not tolerate corruption.

“The port is very essential, if well-managed it generate a lot of revenue, which would boost the economy.

The government is not going to tolerate a few individuals or a gangs out to use their offices to sabotage systems and steal revenue,” said Mr Majaliwa.

LONG OVERDUE

The sackings at the port and at the ministry headquarters was long overdue.

This is after at least 3,000 cargo containers were cleared recently at the port without paying taxes, estimated at Sh80 billion.

Eight suspects including senior revenue officials were charged in court on Friday.

The PM has made two successive impromptu visits at the port, on November 27 and December 4, in his bid to uncover the rot.

Those sacked include Ibin Masoud (Acting Director of Finance at the port), Apolonia Mosha (Assistant Port Manager-finance), Shaaban Mngazija (former Revenue Manager) and Rajab Mdoe (Director of Finance).

Mr Mdoe had just been appointed port’s Deputy Director of Corporate Services.

“These are the top officials who could authorise movement of containers from the port.

They would have easily known that containers had been cleared without paying taxes being, but they didn’t take action,” said the PM.