17 March 2017

Tanzania: Board, Co-Operative Union Dissolved Over Fund Misuse

PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa (pictured) yesterday dissolved Tanzania Tobacco Board (TTB) and Western Zone Tobacco Growers Cooperative Union Ltd (WETCU) over failure to supervise the crop and embezzlement of funds.

He also ordered Tabora Regional Police Commander to arrest four WETCU leaders and close down the union offices, pending investigations on allegations of fund misuse.

The premier issued the orders in Tabora, saying President John Magufuli had revoked the appointments of TTB Chairman Vita Kawawa and its Chief Executive Officer Wilfred Mushi.

Mr Majaliwa ordered the immediate arrest of WETCU Chairman Mkandara M k a n d a r a , Vice-Chairman Msafiri Kassim, Internal Auditor and Chief Accountant. He also suspended WETCU accounts department staff until completion of investigations.

"Effectively today, I suspend all accounts staff, the entire management and Tabora Cooperative Registrar Deogratius Rugangila. RPC, ensure that their offices are not opened until auditors have completed their task," directed the premier.

He noted that tobacco farme r s h a d suffered a lot and the crop lost productivity for a long time due to poor management and poor administration of TTB and WETCU. "We cannot harbour cooperative unions that do not help its members... WETCU received 15bn/- and acknowledged receipt but the amount is nowhere to be seen.

The union also paid tenderers 10bn/- without issuing receipts," fumed the Prime Minister. Despite the sufferings of its members who are farmers,WETCU bought a 269m/- vehicle against the stakeholders' meeting, which endorsed payment of only 40m/- for purchase of the vehicle, charged the premier.

Mr Majaliwa noted that due to WETCU's poor management and leadership, the crop production declined significantly and tobacco farmers lacked productivity.

He decried gross misuse of funds, citing the rehabilitation of WETCU's three offices for 170m/- against the approved 33m/-. Tabora and Urambo offices were not rehabilitated at all despite being allocated 1m/-.

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