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CAG reveals funds abuse in natural resources ministry

THE 2019/20 financial audit report of the Controller and Audit General (CAG) has put in hot water the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources and its former minister, Hamisi Kigwangalla over misuse of billions of shillings.

In the report, CAG Charles Kichere unveiled spending of billions from the ministry and its institutions without enough prerequisite documents, and some of the funds were released through directives of the former minister, which is against public finance law and code of ethics for public service.

In a press conference on Thursday in Dodoma, Mr Kichere stated that he did special audit in the ministry of natural resources and tourism and established that a total of 6.8bn/- was spent from the tourism development fund without approval of an accounting officer, which is against financial regulations, and 16.6bn/- which was spent on payments without payment vouchers.

The CAG also established another payment of 11.1bn/- that did not have supporting documents.

“In my view, director of tourism and accountant responsible for the tourism development fund misused the funds totaling 34.98bn/- ,” Mr Kichere affirmed.

“By the time of auditing, I established that the advisory committee for the tourism development fund was not yet formed. These weaknesses indicate that spending of funds from the tourism development fund was not properly done,” he said.

He went on saying that the National Museum used 89m/- on unrelated tourism needs. On the other hand, he said there were weaknesses in operations of the Urithi Festival which was intended to boost tourism.

The committee endorsed 1.6bn/- budget for implementation of the festival, out of which the ministry contributed 269m/-, while the tourism development fund contributed 270m/-.

Out of it, Clouds Media and the TBC were paid 629m/- for advertising, however, there were no electronic receipts issued for received payment. Also another 487m/- was paid to seven institutions for implementation of the festival but without adequate documents.

Mr Kichere also said the ministry paid 140m/- to Wasafi Media for artists to promote tourism in six regions, but there was no contract entered between the ministry and the company.

“During interview the minister admitted that he gave directives for issuance of payment amounting to 140m/- to Wasafi Media, which is not in line with laws on public funds spending,” he said.

The minister had also issued a directive to Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) to sponsor the Kilimanjaro Marathon budgeted at 171m/-, money which was not in their annual budget. In 2019, the same minister launched Kigwangwala Kili Challenge 2019 which aimed at motivating people to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The former minister through his personal secretary instructed the two authorities to contribute 172m/-, out of which NCAA donated 114m/- and Tanapa donated 57m/-, which was part of their annual budgets.

“It is my view that directives given by the minister violated public finance laws and code of ethics for public service, leading to failure of activities of the two authorities,” he said.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has arrived  ...

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Author: DAILYNEWS REPORTER

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