11 February 2013

Tanzania: Dissolution of Poac to Fuel Corruption - Zitto

KIGOMA North MP Zitto Kabwe (Chadema) has faulted the Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda, for disbanding the Parliamentary Parastatal Organizations' Accounts Committee (POAC).

The outspoken lawmaker, who was until the dissolution the chairman of the oversight committee, said the move is against the constitution and likely to intensify corruption in parastatal organizations.

"The decision to dissolve the committee hinders efforts of creating accountable institutions and is also against the public audit legislation, which has empowered three parliamentary oversight committees to monitor expenditure of public funds," Mr Zitto, also Deputy Leader of Opposition, said in a statement.

Speaker Makinda announced last Friday dissolution of POAC and directed that its functions be performed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Ms Makinda also announced re-arrangements of other parliamentary committees. Conversely, the opposition lawmaker wondered as to how the PAC could manage monitoring the over 258 public corporations with assets worth about 10.2trl/- as of June, last year, in addition to government ministries, departments and agencies.

"Even as POAC dealt specifically with public organizations, we could not cover all of them, how can PAC perform this wonder?" He queried. Adding; "As a matter of fact, POAC should have been empowered to even monitor private companies where the government has stakes such as Airtel, Kilombero Sugar and Puma Energy among others."

Mr Zitto charged that by disbanding the committee, Speaker Makinda had gone against the Standing Regulations of the august House, Audit Act and the Constitution. He went on to brag that during the last five years the parliamentary committee had performed its duties effectively and transparently compared to other standing committees.

The MP, who is also the Shadow Minister for Finance, said his committee had uncovered during its tenure a tendency by government ministries to transfer funds to subordinate departments and agencies where the funds are embezzled. Speaker Makinda could not be reached for comment as her mobile phone was not available for the better part of the day.

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