6 September 2017

Tanzania: Parliament Committee Discover Massive Stealing in Gemstones Business

Dar es Salaam — The Special Parliamentary Committee which was formed to probe Tanzanite trade has proposes the questioning of three former ministers of Energy and Minerals over their alleged involvement in the signing of dubious mining contracts.

The ex-ministers in question are Mr William Ngeleja, George Simbachawene and Prof Sospeter Muhongo.

Meanwhile, speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, has suggested for the splitting of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to easy handling of sensitive issues involving national resources.

He made the suggestion today, Sept 6, at the Parliament grounds in Dodoma when receiving reports from two parliamentary committees formed to probe tanzanite and diamond trade.

The two committees established gross inefficiency ij handling of the gemstones business in the country.

They found some government officials in the Energy and Minerals docket, as well as institutions under the ministry; State Mining Corporation (Stamico) and the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA), liable of colluding with investors.

Reading the findings from the first committee which was investigating the diamond trade, the Ilala MP, Mr Mussa Zungu, said reckless among key actors in the government denied government revenue amounting to Sh437 billion from 571,101 carats of diamond which were smuggled in 2016.

According to him, report from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) shows that only 942,099 diamond carats were recorded as exports while statistics from TMAA shows that the exported diamond was 1,531,200 carats.

Again, the committee found the mismatch of the data from the TMAA and the ministry between 2001 and 2017.

"Data from the ministry shows that about 1,448,400 carats of diamond was sold in the past 17 years, but data from TMAA shows that amount of exported diamond to be 1,513,280 carats," he said.

The committee also hinted on the embezzlement of Sh100 billion which was said to be remitted to the Energy and Minerals ministry account number 2010730046 from the lake zone mineral office in Shinyanga Region, saying there are no documents to support existence of the account.

Mr Zungu went on to explain that even the acting permanent secretary in the Energy and Minerals ministry Prof James Mdoe said he wasn't aware of the account despite the fact that he has been in the ministry for about 18 months since his appointment in December 2015.

Tanzania

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