This kind of negligence is unforgiveable

This kind of negligence is unforgiveable

ALMOST a week ago President Samia Suluhu Hassan revealed the rot in the tender awarding process for the construction of five ships to ply in Lake Victoria, Tanganyika and Indian Ocean.

According to the President, a Turkish company –Yücel Tekin Ship Building Company (YÜTEK)-won the bid and signed the contract worth 438.8bn/- with the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) on June 15 this year.

However, the Head of State said due to some signs of failure by the firm to execute the project she constituted a special probe team consisting of experts from the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Office of the Attorney General, soldiers from the navy and experts from MSCL to investigate the company.

Having the team probed the firm, it came out that the Turkish company was neither financially capable nor had experts to execute the contract it signed with the shipping Corporation.

During its investigation, the probe team travelled to Turkey where it established that the company had no shipyard,   qualified staff  and financial capacity to execute the project, raising questions if indeed authorities responsible for  tenders  carried out due diligence on the company before awarding it the bid.

The rot uncovered reminds Tanzanians of a rather similar problem that occurred in 2008, forcing the then Prime Minister Edward Lowassa to resign after the Parliamentary investigation linked his dealings with the supposedly US-based Richmond Development Company (RDC).

The company was awarded the tender to provide the badly needed electrical power plants to generate electricity when Tanzania was facing severe shortage of power. Very unfortunately investigation by the Parliamentary committee uncovered that the company was non-existent.

The Richmond saga went down with the then Energy Minister Nazir Karamagi and then East African Cooperation Minister Idrissa Msabaha by resigning. As per the country’s constitution, the resignation of former Premier Lowassa forced the dissolution of the Cabinet.

We are drawing the example from Richmond because we believe tendering or procurement authorities in the country should have learnt something from the saga, especially on the need to conduct thorough due diligence on companies winning tenders before awarding them bids.

In this case we are asking ourselves whether thorough due diligence was conducted on the Turkish based company before awarding it a tender to build ships. 

But, we are thankful to President Samia for taking measures on the matter. We understand that the Head of State has disbanded Tasac board of directors, including tasking Minister for Works and Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to take immediate stringent actions against individuals involved.

Here heads must roll. No more no less.

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Author: EDITOR

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