Tanzania: Probe On Co-Ops Scam Gathers Pace

A PROBE on 124.05bn/- allegedly pilfered by cooperative societies gathers pace with anti-graft body confirming yesterday that about 4.06bn/- has already been recovered in the first phase of inquiry.

The first phase of the investigation involved 51.7bn/- out of the 124.05bn/- allegedly swindled out of farmers across 28 regions in the country.

The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) Acting Director General, Brigadier General John Mbungo briefed the media on the progress of the probe in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Brig. Gen Mbungo apparently warned that no stone would be left unturned and issued a call upon responsible members and leaders of cooperatives societies, traders in agricultural produces among others to immediately surrender the swindled money.

According to the PCCB boss, about a month and a half ago, Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga tasked the bureau to conduct investigation on frauds in cooperatives following the 2018/2019 financial year audit report carried out by the Cooperative Audit and Supervision Corporation (COASCO).

"Although some cooperatives secured qualified and unqualified certificates, a section of those with unqualified certificates had corruption and fraud indicators," he revealed.

He said the COASCO report identified that as of June 30, last year about 11,410 cooperative unions had been registered, of which 6,463 unions were active, while 2,844 were dormant and 2,103 others were no longer functional.

"The bureau conducted a probe on 4,313 cooperatives, the first phase embarked on investigations of over 51.7bn/- out of the 124.05bn/- which was linked to fraud," said Brig. Gen Mbungo.

The PCCB head disclosed that phase two of the investigation involves the remaining 72.25bn/-, insisting there will be no mercy for the embezzlers of the farmers money.

Mbungo assured that all the culprits will face the long arm of the law.

Equally, the convicts' accounts would be frozen or their assets confiscated, pledged Brig. Gen Mbungo, noting that the orders have been communicated to all regional and district offices.

The PCCB head extended recognition to government for availing the necessary resources to run the countrywide operation, which he said was important in safeguarding the well-being of farmers and cooperatives.

Among the regions whose cooperatives and SACCOS were audited and fund recovered in brackets include Ruvuma (9.96m/- out of 1.07bn), Kilimanjaro (38.07 out of 3.19bn/-), Manyara (9.85m/- out of 90.02m/-), Katavi (49m/- out of 239.09m/-), Songwe (354.3m/- out of 1.1bn/-) and Coast Region (291.4m/- out of 1.09bn/).

Other regions are; Mbeya (50.7m/- out of 2.58bn/-), Iringa (133.8m/- out of 2.35bn/- ), Simiyu (57.17m/- out of 132.59m/-), Arusha (1.25bn/- out of 1.13bn/-), and Lindi (1.04bn/- out of 1.24bn/-), Njombe (1.02bn/- out of 4.47bn/-), Tanga (10.8m/- out of 332.9m/-), Tabora (69.49m/- out of 99.94m/- ), Mara (242.9m/- out of 646.17m/-), Temeke (2.12m/- out of 5.73bn/-), and Mtwara (681.27m/- out of 1.47bn/-.

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