2 November 2012

Tanzania: State Urged to Act On 'Capital Flight'

Photo: Daniel Hayduck/IRIN
Bye Bye money: Africa loses billions that could be used for development.

Dodoma — THE government was asked to seek the World Bank's support to recover Tanzania's money in billions of dollars deposited abroad by dishonest people including prominent politicians.

The leader of the official opposition in Parliament, Mr Freeman Mbowe (Hai - Chadema) said that the country had performed poorly in its mission to recover funds stashed abroad by some prominent figures.

Mr Mbowe said it was high time the country sought assistance from the World Bank's Asset Recovery Unit to recover the money hidden in the so-called "safe havens."

"Tanzania has lost billions of shillings through illegal capital flight. We have not been able to successfully recover stolen assets. Why can't we engage global partners in our quest to recover the said assets?" Mr Mbowe asked.

The move comes a few months after it was disclosed that some corrupt Tanzanians, including prominent business tycoons and top government officials, have secretly stashed away a whopping 315.5bn/- ($196.87 million) in Swiss banks. According to a report released by the Swiss Central Bank, Swiss National Bank in June, Tanzania is among 11 African countries whose nationals have secretly stashed away millions of dollars in the country's banks.

Mr Mbowe wanted the Prime Minister to tell the reason as to why the government despite the disclosure has failed to release the names of people engaged in such deals and appropriate action be taken against them. Mr Mbowe asserted that the number of crooked businessmen, retired government officials and other prominent politicians were stashing away billion shillings in tax havens including Dubai, Grenada, Luxemburg, Mauritius, Switzerland and British Virgin Island.

Mr Pinda said that the government was still probing the scandal and once investigations were over it would give out the findings and other relevant measures that were to be taken. Mr Pinda, however, insisted that the scandal needed more time to investigate.

He said more patience was needed because investigations could not be done in a week. In naming those who stashed away such billion of shillings outside the country, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda reiterated that whoever has the names should stand firm and disclose instead of waiting for the government.

"If you have the names just tell us instead of waiting for the government to come with them, it seems that some of you here have a lot of information on the matter," Ms Makinda said.

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