Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

10 November 2012

Tanzania: Speaker Issues Strong Warning to Energy Permanent Secretary Over Corruption Claims

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

Dodoma — SCORES of Members of the Parliament (MPs) have predicted tense relations between the members of the Parliament and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals following the verdict by the Speaker, Ms Anne Makinda clearing legislators accused of engaging in corruption and issuing stern warning against the ministry's Permanent Secretary (PS).

The MPs told the 'Daily News on Saturday' at Bunge grounds here yesterday that the Speaker has been too lenient to ministry officials. "I think the Speaker was supposed to take tougher actions against the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Eliakim Maswi, for clandestinely mudslinging the MPs," Mr Mohamed Mnyaa (Mkanyageni-CUF) said.

Mr Mnyaa added that Ms Makinda should have also taken stern measures against the Minister, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, who accused several MPs in his budget speech read in the August House, this year.

Mr John Mnyika (Ubungo-Chadema) said he was not satisfied with the verdict by the Speaker, saying that the full report must be made public from where he would read and make further comments. "I assume that the Speaker read the lines in the report that backed her verdict. We need to have a full report out," he said, adding that there was need to probe some of the issues raised in the report such as misuse of office by ministry officials in procuring Heavy Funnel Oil for power generation at IPTL.

Mr Luhaga Mpina (Kisesa-CCM) declined to comment on the matter, saying that he believed the Speaker used her wisdom in ruling on the matter. Efforts to reach, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Aliakim Maswi, proved futile as he is reported to have travelled outside the country on official duty.

THE Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda, cleared members of the parliamentary committee for Energy and Minerals who were accused of engaging in corruption while issuing a stern warning against the plaintiffs. Ms Makinda's verdict emanated from the findings of the committee of five MPs she formed in August, this year, led by Brigadier Gen (Retired) Hassan Ngwilizi (Mlalo-CCM) to investigate and prepare a report on allegations that some MPs had engaged in corruption.

She said that all those summoned by the committee failed to give substantial evidences that could convict the parliamentary committee on energy and minerals. "All those questioned by the sub-committee had no substantial evidences but instead they conceded that they made allegations out of rumours and hearsays," she said.

She named one accuser after another, explained the weaknesses of their witnesses and gave verdict, starting with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Eliakim Maswi, who had accused two MPs from the committee of soliciting bribe to help the ministry endorse the budget.

"On July 31, this year, Mr Maswi wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly accusing Ms Sarah Msafiri (Special Seats-CCM) for having asked him to give her 50m/- to bribe members of the Energy and Mineral committee to endorse the ministry's budget," the Speaker said.

She added that Mr Maswi also claimed that on June 4, this year, Mr Seleman Zedi (Bukene-CCM) called at his office asking the PS to give 2m/- to every member of the Energy and Minerals committee to smoothen the debate on the ministry's budget.

Ms Makinda told the House that contrary to the allegations, the sub-committee led by Brigadier Ngwilizi found out that there was pressure by the committee on Mr Maswi asking him to step down for various allegations of abuse of office, thus, he (Mr Maswi) decided to camouflage by accusing his enemies.

Speaker Makinda said, in fact, Mr Maswi wanted to bribe members of the committee by giving them 2m/- each and wanted them to sign but upon failure to fulfil his intention he decided to come up with allegations to mudsling MPs. "The named MPs in the letter written by Mr Maswi were pushing for his resignation following misuse of office on the procurement process of 10 million litres of Heavy Funnel Oil for power generation at IPTL," she said.

Ms Makinda further noted that the accusation by Mr Maswi aimed at tarnishing the images of the parliamentary committee, saying the act was an offence and deserved punishment. "I therefore issue a stern warning against Mr Maswi and warn him not to repeat such accusation in future," she said amidst reactions from MPs who showed dissatisfaction on the verdict.

Concerning other allegations made by Tundu Lissu (Singida East-Chadema), Ally Kessy (Nkasi-CCM), Joseph Selasini (Rombo-Chadema) and the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Ms Makinda said that the allegations were baseless. She said that all the plaintiffs failed to substantiate their allegations as they were based on hearsay.

She advised the MPs to take the incident as a lesson and make sure that they only speak in the House on an issue they are sure of. "Minister Muhongo should be aware that any utterance by the minister in the House is regarded as the government position on a particular matter.

Therefore ministers should always be sure of the things they say," she said. The situation had forced the Speaker to dissolve the Energy and Minerals Committee and formed a sub-committee to investigate the allegations. The sub-committee was tasked to interrogate and submit the report to the Speaker to ensure transparency in order to clear all the doubts.

Brigadier General (rtd) Ngwilizi, who is also the chairman for the parliamentary committee for Privileges, Ethics and Powers led the team. Other members of the team were Mr Gosbert Blandes (Karagwe - CCM), Mr John Chiligati (Manyoni West - CCM), Ms Riziki Juma (Special Seats - CUF) and Mr Said Arfi (Mpanda Urban - Chadema).

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