TWENTY containers of mineral sand from the Lake Zonebased mines remain stranded at the Dar es Salaam Port, pending thorough investigations.
President John Magufuli yesterday made an impromptu visit to the port where he witnessed the containers before directing the Inspector General of Police to hasten investigations on the containers to establish the contents inside.
The containers were denied export permits from the ports authorities following President Magufuli's order early this month against the export of mineral sand.
He prohibited investors from exporting mineral sands, directing the Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, to fully enforce the sanction.
The impromptu visit to the port yesterday sought to, among others, establish if his directives on import and export cargos, including mineral sand were implemented.
Dr Magufuli directed IGP Ernest Mangu and other security agencies to ensure that the mineral sand wherever it's is seized and subjected to intensive investigations to unearth the truth.
"Our country has been extremely deceived... I have come to witness these containers and I have seen them. When all the procedures are complete, I want Tanzanians and the entire world to see for themselves what is inside, is it sand or gold," he stressed.
While at the port, Dr Magufuli was also briefed on how some deceitful businesspeople were dodging taxes by concealing the contents in the containers.
The president was shown some containers whose documents indicated they had second-hand clothes and shoes but inside had craftily packed brand new posh vehicles. He commended the Port and Tanzania Revenue Authority officials for their bold move to seize the 20 containers of mineral sand, urging them to purge the port with all sorts of dishonesty.
"You have made me happy today and I encourage you to continue working diligently, apprehend all deceitful traders and take stern legal measures against them. Observe justice when executing your duties and do not accept bribes. We want people to understand that we are serious," he stressed.
Dr Magufuli called on all state organs responsible with control of import and export cargo through the Dar es Salaam port and all ports across the country to work together against dishonest traders. Earlier, the president outlawed the export of mineral sands in July last year during his tour of Kahama District.
But, it seems, the order was not fully executed, prompting the head of state to reissue the directive afresh early this month. Speaking during his working tour of three regions -- Coast, Lindi and Mtwara, Dr Magufuli said it was high time the country owned its own mineral processing industries right here in the country to smelt the mineral sands.
"It's surprising to see that the country has huge unpaid debts, yet we are endowed with natural resources, including minerals that are exported to Europe for processing, leaving our people languishing in poverty," he said.