24 April 2018

Tanzania: Grim Future for Nine Unaudited Political Parties

Dodoma — Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office, Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Ms Jenista Mhagama

NINE political parties, including four that enjoy government subsidies, have their fate hanging in balance, pending the decision by the Registrar of Political Parties.

Four parties have reportedly failed to present their 2016/17 audited financial statements to Controller and Auditor General (CAG) as the law requires. The Political Parties Act, 1992 empowers the Registrar to deregister, reduce or scrapoff altogether the subsidy disbursed to the party that fails to present its audited financial records to the CAG.

Speaking here yesterday, the Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office, Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Ms Jenista Mhagama, explained that the legislation vests powers to the Registrar to act when the parties fail to submit their financial records.

According to the CAG report for the year 2016/2017, nine out of 19 registered political parties, four of them being beneficiaries of taxpayers' money, failed to submit their audited records as per law. The CAG, Prof Mussa Assad, mentioned the four subventions but failed to submit their records as ACT-Wazalendo, Civic United Front (CUF), NCCR- Mageuzi and UDP.

"During the previous financial year, only four parties failed to present their records but the number increased to nine during the latest CAG report; the Registrar of Political Parties is the one mandated by the law to act," Ms Mhagama stated.

The minister made the explanation here yesterday at a news conference to respond to some of the issues raised by the CAG in the latest report.

"I hereby direct the Registrar to compel all registered parties which have not yet presented their financial records to do so in a month time. Appropriate legal actions should be instituted against any party which will not heed to the directive," Ms Mhagama instructed.

The CAG report punched holes in many of the financial records by the political parties in which some of their records were below international required standards. Among the audited parties, the CAG raised queries on investments by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in some companies, including Uhuru Media and Tanzania One Theatre (TOT) which failed to indicate the profit earned.

"There was as well questionable transfer of 33.1m/- from the accounts of the party to the Secretary General," Ms Mhagama stated, quoting the CAG report.

Opposition party Chadema was also cited in the report for a number of anomalies in its records, including lack of a register for permanent assets. "Chadema had a number of questionable transactions, including incidences where payments lacked supporting documents and un-retired allowances amounting to 400m/-," the minister explained.

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