Magufuli drops the axe on port chiefs

POPULIST APPROACH: President John Magufuli is trying to put the people first

POPULIST APPROACH: President John Magufuli is trying to put the people first

President John Magufuli of Tanzania today took yet another stern move in his bid to rid the East African nation of graft and corruption by firing the entire Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) board, and its Director General Awadhi Massawe.

Magufuli’s decision comes days 5 top executives of the body were suspended following Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa’s impromptu visit to the Dar es Salaam discovered 2,716 shipping containers had been cleared without paying taxes.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has since identified 43 companies that are involved in the massive tax evasion scam at the port authority that has cost Tanzanian taxpayers Tsh 80 billion. Dozens of customs are police custody pending investigations.

The huge corruption scandal has also led to the suspension of the country’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport Shaban Mwinjaka.

“The PS is supposed to oversee the port and the Tanzania Railway Limited, during my visit at the two offices I found over Tsh16.5 billion missing,” Prime Minister Majaliwa told a press conference Monday adding “this is unacceptable for group of people to continue enriching themselves at the expense of the nation.”

In addition the the prime minister announced suspension of five other officials at the port authority not implicated by the original investigation report on the untaxed containers.

“These leaders were not included in the audit report but are the protagonists. They are the ones who gave permission for the containers to be directed to Internal Container Depots (ICDs).”

Majaliwa publicly named the disgraced executives: Mr. Shaban Mngazija former Revenue Manager, Mr. Rajab Mdoe former Director of Finance and Head of ICDs, Acting Director of Finance, Mr. Ibn Masoud and Ports Assistant Manager in charge of Finance, Ms. Apollonia Mosha.

Five ICD supervisors have also been suspended, they are, Happygod Naftari, Juma Zaar, Steven Naftari Ahmadu, Titi Ligalwike, Lydia Prosper Obeng, Kango Alli, John Elisante and James Kimwomwa.

“These are the top officials without whose authority no movement of containers from the port to ICDs would take place. They would have easily known that containers had been cleared without due taxes being paid but they did not take any action,” the premier said.

President Magufuli has been in office for a few weeks but his unorthodoxy actions to rein in government spending and his zero-tolerance to corruption and graft are quickly earning him regional and international recognition.

Over the weekend, the new Tanzanian leader was congratulated by the East African Legislative Assembly members meeting in Kigali, Rwanda as many requested him to address the regional legislative body.

“We should adopt the slogan of Hapa Kazi Tu (Magufuli’s “Time to Work slogan) across the entire region,” Dora Byamukama, Uganda’s Representative said.