9 November 2012

Tanzania: Lawmakers Want Holders of Swiss Accounts Named

Photo: The Daily News
President Jakaya Kikwete addresses delegates during Chama Cha Mapinduzi elections.

Dodma — KIGOMA North MP Zitto Kabwe (Chadema) has called for formation of a parliamentary select-committee to probe allegations of money laundering against high-ranking public leaders and business persons said to have stashed billions of shillings in foreign countries.

Mr Kabwe, also a Shadow Minister for Finance, moved a private motion in the National Assembly , urging the government to take action on reports that over 300bn/- has been stashed in Switzerland and other tax-haven Islands across the world.The opposition MP was supported in his motion by MPs across the political divide including Mr Christopher Ole Sendeka (Simanjiro-CCM), Mr Kangi Lugola (Mwibara-CCM) as well as Mr Luhanga Mpina (Kisesa - CCM) and Nkasi North MP, Mr Ally Kessy Mohamed (CCM).

"The government should also cooperate with the World Bank's Assets Recovery Unit to ensure that the funds salted away in foreign countries are recovered," the MP said.He also urged the government to table during the National Assembly in April, next year, a Bill to prevent any public leader, his/her spouse and family to have an account in foreign countries.

The outspoken MP said he had information and names of people said to have stashed the billions but did not mention them.Shortly after tabling the motion, the Attorney General, Fredrick Werema, said his office had tried to contact authorities in Geneva to have the names of the Tanzanians with bank accounts in that country in vain.

"The response we got from Geneva is that we, as requesting authority must link the account of the said person and the offence committed."They considered our request as simply fishing and thus asked us to provide them with more details regarding the said persons and their respective bank accounts," the AG explained.

The AG said however an investigation on the matter was still underway and that he had also contacted the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) as well as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to act accordingly."We ask the public to provide us with information that will assist us in the investigation including names of the said persons," he pleaded.

However, the Opposition Chief Whip, Mr Tundu Lissu (Singida East-Chadema), hit back at the AG wondering as why his office did not have names of the said Tanzanians even as the matter has been in the public domain for the past five years. Mr Ole Sendeka expressed concern that ill-gotten funds will usually fund ill-political motives aimed at suppressing democracy.

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