MORE than twelve directors and heads of departments at Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) are said to have been suspended over the past few days due to allegations of mismanagement.
Impeccable sources within the government and TPA informed this newspaper that various heads of sections have been receiving suspension letters, telling them to remain home pending further investigations.
"It is true that some directors received suspension letters yesterday (Sunday) and today (yesterday)," the source, who requested to remain anonymous because he is not the official spokesperson of TPA, said.
Officials who were suspended include the heads of security at the port, procurement and engineering, among others. The sources confided further that the move followed the report of a probe team formed by the Minister of Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, to establish the level of efficiency at the port.
"Investigations were thorough and more reports of theft and embezzlement are coming forth. More people will be suspended and the operation is now moving downward to even people holding low level posts.
"It has been established that there was a syndicate of all wrongdoers so the move is to bust the syndicate," confided the government source. Reached for comment yesterday, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, would neither confirm nor deny the matter.
"It is better you contact the TPA's board chairman for explanation. Suspension of officials at the TPA is supposed to be done by the board and not the ministry," Dr Tizeba said.
Efforts to get comments from the Minister of Transport, Dr Mwakyembe, were not successful yesterday as his cellular phone was not reachable. But when receiving the report in October, the minister promised to implement the recommendations by December this year.
He had already disbanded the TPA's board of directors and formed a new one led by the former Permanent Secretary, Mr Raphael Mollel. Just in August, this year, Dr Mwakyembe suspended seven top officials at the TPA and Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ), pending investigations on several allegations including mismanagement, embezzlement and occasioning losses to the institution.
Those who were suspended then included the TPA Director General, Mr Ephraim Mgawe, and his two deputies, Mr Julius Mfuko and Mr Hamadi Koshuma as well as the Dar es Salaam Port Manager, Mr Cassian Ng'amilo.
Speaking at a news conference then, the minister also suspended the KOJ Engineer, Emanuel Mataro, Jetty Master, Capt Joseph Bwakabale and Oil Terminal Manager who was also responsible for managing the Single Point Mooring (SPM), Capt Tumaini Masaro. The minister then formed a seven-member committee to probe several irregularities at the TPA and KOJ. The committee finished its task and presented its report to the minister.