IT is now official; five top senior managers of the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) have been fired for various offences ranging from abuse of office to gross dishonest and incompetence and thus occasioning a loss to the institution and the economy as a whole.
Possible criminal charges await the officials, Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe hinted before a packed news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The officials are also accused of establishing "unusual" procurement unit within TPA which they used for personal interests by entering various contracts for various projects at the port, sidestepping the officially recognized unit.
Those who faced the axe are former TPA Director General Ephraim Mgawe and his two deputies Hamad Koshuma (Deputy Director General-Corporate Services) and Julius Mfuko (Deputy Director General-Infrastructure Development). The Dar es Salaam Port Manager, Cassian Ngamilo and the Oil Terminal Manager at the Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ), Captain Tumaini Masaro, were also shown the door.
However, the KOJ Engineer, Mr Emmanuel Mataro and Jetty Master Capt Joseph Bwakabale have been reinstated to their positions since allegations against them were not proved. The seven top managers at the TPA were suspended in August last year to pave way for investigations into a myriad of allegations at the port ranging from petty and organized theft of cargo, embezzlement and abuse of office among others.
Dr Mwakyembe, who has vowed to bring order at the port, formed a seven-member committee last year to probe the allegations and advise him on the best course of action. "The port is very crucial in development of our country and I will not hesitate to take actions against unethical officials," the no nonsense minister stressed.
The move to sack the TPA officials is part of recommendations made by the committee that the minister formed in August last year and submitted its report in October. Last October, a report by the World Bank and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) cited the port of Dar es Salaam as among the worst performing in the world in terms of efficiency.
"It is due to unnecessary delays, petty and organized theft that importers and exporters have of late been shunning the port, we must bring the institution to order," he noted. The former DG, Mgawe, for instance, has been accused of gross dishonest, abuse of office, violation of laws and laid down procedures, gross inefficiency and incompetence as well as subjecting TPA to shoddy contracts.
He was also blamed for failing to put in place a proper mechanism for discharging soiled oil from the port and as a result created a loophole for theft of fuel. He was served with a termination letter on January 18, this year.
The other officials are also blamed for misleading the TPA Board of Directors, entering into contracts and extending old one without consulting the tender board. They are also accused of gross incompetence and inefficiency and thus occasioning a loss to TPA and the country as a whole.