19 May 2017

Tanzania: Not Yet 'Uhuru' for Axed Crooks

Photo: Mohamed Mambo/Daily News
President John Magufuli reads the name of Abdallah Chanja, a civil servant in Simiyu Region, after receiving a list with names of public servants using fake certificates from the Minister of State (President's Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance), Angellah Kairuki (second right), in Dodoma yesterday. Looking on (third right) is Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan and University of Dodoma (UDOM) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Idrissa Kikula.

Coming to terms with losing a job just receding among recent axed civil servants, the Higher Education Students' Loans Board (HESLB) has also come knocking.

The HESLB declares that all those who benefited from education loans will be traced to clear their pending arrears --either in employment or without. But, that's only the beginning.

The real news is whether they will be paid their pensions at all - because the regulator, Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA), is still on the fence waiting for further directive.

Speaking to 'Daily News' yesterday in Dar es Salaam, SSRA Director General Ms Irene Isaka said that her office is awaiting the list of civil servants issued with letters of termination in the ongoing 'fake certificates' saga before making an analysis.

But she ruled out any significant impact to the social security funds following termination of the nearly 10,000 civil servants.

Ms Isaka explained that the letters of termination provide direction on whether they should be paid their pensions or not. "We have not yet done any analysis at the moment ... we are waiting for the list of those terminated and the termination letters so that we can tell who will be paid pensions and then do an analysis," she explained.

The SSRA DG added that termination of the civil servants will not have much of an impact on pension funds since the government will employ others to replace them.

"I don't see much of an impact on the pension funds because they will be replaced. We will have a gap for a month or two before new civil servants are employed to replace them," she explained.

Meanwhile, HESLB Executive Director, Mr Abdul-Razaq Badru said that his office will cross-check the list of civil servants who were named to have been in possession of fake academic qualifications in order to identify loan beneficiaries who are yet to clear their debts.

He said HESLB has requested the Public Service Management to provide them with the list of terminated civil servants indicating their departments and offices they were serving so that they can be traced.

"This information will enable us to make comparisons with our data base and identify beneficiaries who still owe the board and how they can be traced ," Mr Badru said.

The HESLB boss noted the sorting out of names for loan beneficiaries who still owe the board will only be done after the appeals have been heard. "We cannot work on the list now because some of the workers whose names appeared in the list of unqualified staff have appealed ... we're waiting for the process to be finalized so that we can make a precise sorting of the names of those who owe the board," Mr Badru said.

He further noted that all beneficiaries are required by law to repay the loans, therefore there was no way the sacked civil servants can run away from fulfilling their legal obligation.

"Being sacked is no excuse ... the beneficiaries will have to repay their debts, because they are required to do so by the laws," Mr Badru said. Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) Senior Public Relations Officer Mr Abdul Njaidi said that it was too early for his office to comment on the matter because it was still in the hands of the government.

"Since the government is still handling the matter and the deadline given to the unqualified civil servants expired just on Monday we are still waiting ... we will know the way forward thereafter," Njaidi said.

Recently, LAPF Pension Fund announced that it was incredibly safe amid the ongoing fake certificates saga that has seen a number of social services providers paralyze in some parts of the country.

Since the government embarked on a countrywide crackdown on phantom workers and subsequent expulsion of civil servants implicated of allegedly using phony academic certificates, the fund acknowledges it was not seriously harmed.

"We're very safe ... but we have requested the government to supply us with the actual names of all civil servants who were listed as 'phantom' officials and those with fake certificates," said LAPF Acting Operation Manager Mr Victor Kikoti. "Our policies are very clear ... if any of our members had obtained a loan to further their education.

We provide loans not exceeding 75 per cent of the contribution ... this means even if they will be forced out of their workstation there are still alternatives to settle the debt," he said.


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