Magufuli suspends identification body boss over suspected corruption

IN HOT WATER: Dickson Maimu, Head of Tanzania's National Identification Authority (NIDA).

IN HOT WATER: Dickson Maimu, Head of Tanzania’s National Identification Authority (NIDA).

The State House in Tanzania announced Monday President John Magufuli had suspended the National Identification Authority (NIDA) chief Dickson Maimu to pave way for investigation into an $82.06m (approx. Sh179.6bn) deal to produce national IDs.

President Magufuli has reportedly ordered the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) to investigate whether there was corruption in the entire process starting with the tendering process.

For over 30 years, Tanzania planned to identify all nationals and issue a National ID card but to the plan is yet to be executed even with the establishment of NIDA five years ago.

Reports from the State House indicate the government commissioned the Authority to undertake the exercise thus far less than 2 million people have received national IDs.

The IDs have been heavily criticized for even not bearing owners’ signature making it useless in all financial institutions.
According to a statement issued by Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue at the State House today, the President’s directive is chiefly meant to ascertain whether or not a staggering $82.06m was properly used to produce just less than 2 million poorly designed ID cards.

Critics have pointed out that amount been used to finance the construction of a 180-km long tarmac road.

The Chief Secretary said other senior officials in the department who have been fired include Mr. Joseph Makini, Director of ICT, Head of Procurement, Rahel Mapande, Legal Director, Sabrina Nyoni and Logistics Officer, George Ntalima.

“The president decided to terminate their contracts after receiving complaints from the people who had not received their IDs despite the authority having spent huge tax payers’ monies,” Ambassador Sefue told reporters Monday.
For the few weeks President Magufuli has been in office, he has expelled dozens of top government officials implicated in corruption scandals leading to the mysterious disappearance of millions of dollars.