THE newly appointed Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Board of Directors has suspended 16 officials including heads of departments and directors for various irregularities that have contributed to inefficiencies at the port.
The suspended port officials included the Director of Engineering Mr Bakari Kilo, Engineering Manager Mr Raymond Swai, Principal Engineering-Electrical Ms Mary Mhayaya, Director of Planning and Investment Ms Florence Nkya, Manager Procurement Unit Mr Bahebe Machibya, Manager Procurement and Supplies Mr Theophil Kimaro.
Others are the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ayoub Kamti, Container Terminal Manager Mr Mathew Anthony, Director of Management Services Dr Maimuna Mrisha, The Information Technology (IT) Manager Ms Marcelina Mhando.
Others are; Security Officer Mr Fortunatus Sandaria, Mr Fadhiri Ngorongo from Marine Department, Mr Owen Rwebangira the KOJ Operator, Mr Mohamed Abdula, a driver, Mr Kilimba, operator and Ms Ghati Nyirabu Senior Operations Officer.
In a related development, a banking system has been introduced at the port replacing cash transactions for various payments. This has enhanced efficiency in revenue collection rising from around 28bn/- monthly before the new structure to 38bn/- in September, 40bn/- in October with projection of 44bn/- in November.
Speaking with port employees in a meeting yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said the Board's decisions is a result of the findings by a probe team formed to explore indiscretions that have haunted the port. In August, this year, Dr Mwakyembe suspended seven top officials of TPA and Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ), on allegations including mismanagement, embezzlement and occasioning losses to the institution.
Dr Mwakyembe said the Board wrote a letter to each of the suspended officials to explain why legal measures should not be taken against them for the irregularities which plunged the port into massive losses of revenues. "The probe team findings revealed that some officials had conflict of interests and gave tenders to their companies to provide various services at the port and almost all the firms were not registered at the Business Registrations and Licensing Authority (BRELA)," he said.
The findings disclosed further that the suspended officials gave tenders to their companies several times without advertising thus violating the public procurement regulations. They are accused of nepotism in recruitment which overlooked professionalism.
The findings also linked the officials with theft network of containers and equipment, the malpractices which apart from plunging the port into heavy losses tarnished its image. He cited that 30 containers went missing last year, 56 per cent of them were for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a situation that made business people to opt for other ports.
The minister met President Joseph Kabila of DRC, when he attended the Southern African Development Commission (SADC) summit early this month and expressed deep concern over the theft incidences at the port. "Such incidences at the port should not be tolerated.
The government's move to uproot unethical officials and employees will be an ongoing exercise that will spare no one," he insisted, adding that, "those employees who are not satisfied with the exercise should step down before being fired," He said the new Board is tasked with improving efficiency and competitiveness of the port in order to boost revenue collection. He cited for example that while Mombasa port collects 300bn/-, the Dar es Salaam port unsatisfactorily mobilises around 40bn/- per month.