17 February 2013

Tanzania: TPA Denies Involvement in Tantalite Container Theft

THE Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) has denied any involvement in the theft of a container carrying tantalite minerals that was stolen three days ago in Dar es Salaam.

The container loaded with 44 tonnes of tantalite from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC was on transit to Rome, Italy via Dar es Salaam Port but was stolen before reaching the port and diverted to an inland container depot (ICD).

According to TPA Acting Corporate Communications Manager, Mrs Janeth Ruzangi, the authority does not register or prove licences to ICDs and the container was not stolen at Dar Port. "The misleading reports tarnish our image, the truth of the matter is that the container was stolen outside the port at a private ICD," she told journalists on Saturday.

"People should distinguish clearly between dry ports and sea ports; otherwise it would be confusing stakeholders. The minister stated clearly that the theft happened at an ICD," she added. Three ICDs that are at the centre of investigations are PMM, Rudi Holding and Damco.

Others accused of complicity are officers from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Mr Mohamed Mbutu, Tanzania Mineral Agency Mr Godson Juma Mkeni and an Intelligence Officer, Mr Hamis Haji. Tantalite is one of the expensive mineral as, according to official data, one kilogramme cost 207 US dollars.

Quick calculations show that the consignment of 44 tonnes is worth 9.108 million US dollars (about 14.57bn/-). However, documentation shows that the container only carried minerals worth 22,000 US dollars (35.2m/-).

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