PM acts tough on embezzlers

SONGWE: PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed Songwe Regional Commissioner (RC) and the Regional Defence and Security Committee to search for 72 people who were involved in the embezzlement of Mbozi District Council funds so that they return it back and take disciplinary action.

The Premier made the directives on Friday evening when addressing the staff, councillors and leaders of Mbozi District Council in Songwe Region.

“RC and your Defence and Security Committee review the report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) regarding allegations of embezzlement of funds here in Mbozi…those swindlers should be searched and disciplinary action should be taken against them,” the PM underlined.

In line, the Prime Minister stressed on the issue of integrity among public servants, especially in the procurement management and accounting units, noting that the CAG report had identified the presence of open theft in procurement.

“Purchasing construction materials worth 406m/- without receipts is one of the issues that emerged in the CAG report,” Mr Majaliwa said.

Regarding the suspicious embezzlement in construction of Kisimani Secondary School, the PM said the staff changed the design without permission from the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments (PO-RALG), a thing that caused an increase in the cost of construction.

“We had an initial design at a cost of 466m/-, but you changed it and added 206m/- but when the team went to inspect the project area, it found the presence of cracks, the door frames were bent and overlapped and 28 vents were not fitted with iron bars or mirrors,” he pointed out.

Coupled with that, Mr Majaliwa said that the report unveiled that there is a loss of 292,375,419.93 m/- of collections identified in the Local Government Revenue Information System (LGRCIS), saying those funds were not deposited in the bank.

“Of that, 90,670,578.14 m/- was collected but not deposited to the bank by 44 collectors, 66,821,913.26 m/- were transactions entered by mistake in the system,” he said.

Adding: “65,570,298.61 m/- was not clarified due to 28 collectors who are agents and Village Executives Officers (VEOs) not submitting clarifications, 64,182,729.91 m/- was deposited to the bank while the special audit is in progress and 5,129,900 m/- was submitted to the Council’s deposit account instead of the income account.”

Giving more examples, the Prime Minister said: “There is an agent who collected 15,310,500.00 m/- but deposited to the bank only 310,500.00/- …it is unacceptable.”

“Another collected 2,357,100.00 m/- and deposited 875,300.00 m/- … the third one collected 12,597,020.00 m/- and deposited 101,500.00/- and the fourth collected 18,902,710.00 m/- and deposited 13,725,510.00 m/-. You know these people and some of them are village executive officers. They should be hunted and return this money,” The PM emphasised.

In particular, the PM said another embezzlement was found in the sale of farmers’ coffee where coffee worth 1.18 bn/- was lost.

The PM said the public servants should realise that the work of revenue collection requires honesty and integrity.

“While the government is rushing to collect revenue, there are other people holding our shirts and stopping us from moving forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the construction of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) offices in Songwe region located in Nselewa Mlowo, Mbozi District.

According to information revealed by the premier’s office, the construction of the office which started on February 16, 2023 is expected to be completed on June 17, next year.

Addressing the public during the event on Friday, the PM said the region is a reliant region on collections, adding that in the near future the government expects to build a customs centre in Isongole area, Ileje District, next to the border of Malawi.

“This is the preparation of the infrastructure to help people get better services. I urge Tanzanians not to forget to pay taxes. The government’s strategy is to increase the budget revenue up to 95 per cent,” he said.

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