Thieves, embezzlers of public money must be held accountable 

ABOUT ten days ago the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) handed over the 2021/2022 audited report to the government, revealing shocking details on how some trusted public officials siphon off taxpayers’ money.

Although the report shows positive development in the aspect of disbursement of money by the central government to the recurrent and development budget, embezzlement, theft and misappropriation of public funds and property appear to be deepening its roots.

As a nation, we are pleased to hear from the CAG that the disbursement of government’s funds from the national budget to the recurrent and development spending has increased from 9 per cent in 2020/21 to 25 per cent in 2021/22 fiscal year.

But, as we celebrate this positive development, one shocking financial malpractice uncovered by the CAG in the 2021/2022 involves the purchase of Air Tanzania cargo plane in which its invoice was inflated by nearly 50milion US dollars.

According to the 2021/2022 CAG report, the last installment for the plane’s manufacture was 37 million US dollars; however, an 86 million US dollars invoice was presented to the government.

As we question how the financial malpractice happened before the eyes of some trusted public leaders, the CAG reminded Tanzanian that there are still challenges facing implementation of projects.

According to the CAG the challenges include delays for approval of funds through defunding system at all levels, untimely fulfilment of loan conditions for effectiveness and signing loan agreements, delays in procurement planning, execution, and reporting.

The situation is not well either with some local government authorities, especially in the aspect of projects implementation.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has all along been very tough against theft, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. It would be recalled that when she received the report from the CAG, she publicly asked leaders involved in the financial malpractices to assess themselves if they are fit enough to continue holding the positions.

But, recently the Parliament passed a resolution meant to address loss of public funds, increase revenues and bring efficiency in government institutions.

In the resolution, the MPs directed the government to take various steps to address theft and misappropriation of public funds, including instituting disciplinary measures against government executives implicated in loss of public monies.

During the debate, Members of Parliament raised concern on the increase in acts of financial mismanagement by some trusted government officials who are    responsible for implementing certain development projects.

But, it would again be recalled that when President Samia took over the reins of this country she unequivocally warned officials against the financial malpractices.

Civil servants ought to understand that money channeled to various development project is a public money raised from taxes paid by Tanzanians, meaning that embezzling or stealing it means stealing from Tanzanians.

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