Tanzania parliament votes to sack ministers over corruption

Tanzanian MPs have called for the sacking of several top officials including two cabinet ministers implicated in multi-million dollar energy sector graft scandal, officials said.

In a vote late Saturday, the east African nation’s parliament voted for the immediate dismissal of Attorney General Frederick Werema, Energy Minister Sospeter Muhongo, Lands Minister Anna Tibaijuka and the energy ministry’s permanent secretary, Eliakim Maswi.

The vote followed an audit that uncovered the fraudulent payment of of around $120 million in state funds to a private company. “Following a recent audit there is evidence that the officials facilitated or aided money laundering, tax evasion, corrupt acts and outright theft of billions of shillings from public coffers,” said Zitto Kabwe, chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

“All those named to have received part of the ill-gotten cash must be probed and prosecuted,” Kabwe said.

International aid paused
Several key donors to Tanzania, including Britain, Canada, the European Union and Japan, have said they will halt hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Tanzania unless they are satisfied with the investigation.

“Donors are now withholding the funds meant to support the 2014-15 budget as they await the probe findings,” said David Kafulila, an opposition lawmaker, who launched the calls in parliament for an investigation.

“If the government fails to take serious action, our development partners will not release the funds and as a result, development projects will be affected.”

Tanzania’s Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda signalled the officials will be sacked: “We are now very serious and no stone will be left unturned. All those involved will face the music,” he said after the vote. – Sapa-AFP

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