A PROSECUTION witness yesterday claimed in the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam that procedure was not followed during the construction of an 18-storey building close to the State House.
Simon Maembe, an investigator with the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), told Senior Resident Magistrate, Ms Sundi Fimbo, that the construction works along plots number 45 and 46, Chamara Street, took off without the required permits from relevant authorities.
He was testifying in a case in which two top officials with the Tanzania Building Agency (TBA), Makumba Kimweri and Richard Maliyaga, TBA chief executive officer and principal architect, respectively, are charged with abuse of office for authorising construction of the building.
Led by a PCCB prosecutor Bernard Swai, the witness alleged that he was the one who conducted investigations to establish whether the procedure for the construction of the building was followed following directives given by the president and the prime minister.
According to him, he started by reviewing various documents involved in the whole process, including the tendering procedure and acquisition of permits and discovered that at the end of the day Royalle Orchard Inn Limited was offered the construction tender in joint venture with TBA.
"What surprised me and was abnormal is that TBA is the one which issued the construction permits, while there were other relevant authorities charged with such duty," the witness said. He said after going through the contract entered by the parties he discovered other anomalies.
The witness alleged that the contract indicated that the use of the building to be constructed was for residential and commercial purposes, while the building would have 15 floors. He also learnt that two permits were issued, one for the construction of 15 storeys and another for extension to 18 floors.
Having noticed so, he said, he went to Ilala Municipal Council, which is charged with issuing building permits, to inquire whether the department mandated with town planning was involved in the process.
"I discovered that the municipal council had never received request for change of use and construction on the two plots to 15 floors, but overturned the request because it was against the urban planning master plan," Maembe told the court.
Thereafter, the witness continued, he went to the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlement Developments, Urban Planning Department, where he was told that the ministry had never authorised any changes in land use of the two plots. The witness said he later went back to his office to prepare a report on his findings.
Asked whether the two accused persons were aware of the procedures he had recounted, the witness quickly replied 'Yes', adding that he saw a document written by Maliyaga to Kimweri showing that TBA had communicated with the municipality, which insisted the building should not exceed six floors.
In the same document, the witness alleged, Maliyaga had advised that a request should be sought for change of land use and construction works on the plots, but that was not done and instead, the TBA issued permits itself for the contract to proceed, which was contrary to the law.
Hearing of the trial continues on September 5.