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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

 

Tanzanite mining company under investigation in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian police said on Wednesday two top officials of Sky Associates Limited which owns Tanzanite One Mining Ltd have been transferred from Manyara region to the east African nation’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam for further investigations.

“They were transferred to Dar es Salaam on Monday for further grilling by the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI),” said Francis Massawe, the Manyara regional police commander.

The two officials of Sky Associates Limited have been implicated in the tanzanite mining fraud by two reports on diamonds and tanzanite mining by two by parliamentary investigative committees presented to President John Magufuli last week.

Massawe named the two officials as Faisal Juma Shahbhai and Hussein Gonga.

Massawe further disclosed that they were still pursuing State Mining Corporation (STAMICO), a government owned enterprise also mentioned and implicated in the reports.

The arrest of the officials followed a directive by President Magufuli who had instructed defense and security organs to investigate top officials implicated in the report.

Last week, Tanzanian police chief said they have started investigating senior officials implicated in the two reports by parliamentary investigative committees on diamonds and tanzanite mining.

“After President John Magufuli instructed defence and security organs to immediately start investigating all officers implicated in the reports, we have already arrested some of the officials for interrogation,” said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro.

Magufuli also ordered the suspension of senior officials implicated in the two reports.

“The officials mentioned in the two reports should give way pending the investigations,” said Magufuli. 

Following the order, the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for Regional Administration and Local Governments, George Simbachawene and Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Edwin Ngonyani, announced they were stepping down to pave way for investigations.

“The two committees have shown weaknesses in overseeing our natural resources. It is high time all Tanzanians became patriotic in protecting our resources,” said Magufuli.

On July 5 the National Assembly formed a nine-man investigative team to assess how Tanzania was benefiting from diamond mining.

The investigative team looked at regulation, ownership and diamond mining, said Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai.

He said the team drawing Members of Parliament from the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi and the opposition camp worked for 30 days before submitting its report.

In June, Magufuli suspended issuance of new mining licenses to investors until after the government reorganized itself.

In May this year, he sacked Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo after a report showed he was implicated in mining firms’ undeclared mineral sand exports.

The report revealed that the undeclared mineral sand exports led to tax evasion by the mining firms.

Magufuli said the report revealed that mining firms, including Acacia Mining, cheated over mineral sand exports for smelting abroad, making the east African nation to lose millions of U.S. dollars.

The president also dissolved the Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency (TMAA) Board of Directors and suspended the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Rwekaza, for what he termed as negligence.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Tanzania launches program to improve public funds management

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday launched the 5th phase of the public finance management reform program aimed at improving management of public funds.

“Improved public management of funds is key to achieving sound macro and micro-economic results for poverty alleviation,” Samia said in the political capital Dodoma.

The program estimated to cost 7.5 million U.S. dollars will be implemented in five years from 2017/18 to 2021/22 by putting in place proper ways to mobilize, utilize and allocate resources to improve proper public funds management to ensure finances were well managed to achieve sound results.

The official said the launch of the program created a base for the achievement of various development targets.

She said a robust public fund management system was key to development, adding that the government will scale up resources mobilization, including tax and non-tax revenues to promote financial discipline and tame corruption.

“We in the government re-affirm our commitment to continue working with all stakeholders to ensure that public fund management is not just the program but a way in which the government should operate,” she said.

She said the government will continue cutting unnecessary spending and acquire new technology in managing public finances.

Philip Mpango, the Minister for Finance and Planning, said the launch of program was an indication of the commitment by President John Magufuli’s administration to ensure public funds were well managed.

Mpango said various achievements have been made since 1998 when the first phase started to be implemented, including legal reforms, improvement of budgeting processes and the establishment of the Internal Auditor General’s office.

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Tanzania to make railway state-owned

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian parliament on Wednesday approved the Railways Bill 2017 designed to reverse ownership of the east African nation’s railway company from a joint venture with private investors to the state.

The proposed new law will disband ownership of the railway firm from joint venture-owned Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) to the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), the name it carried before it was privatized.

According to the bill, the new TRC will merge TRL and Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO). RAHCO was responsible for the railway infrastructure development while TRL dealt with operations of trains.

In 2007 RITES Ltd of India won a contract from Tanzania’s Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) to operate passenger and freight trains on a concession basis for 25 years. The concession agreement was signed on September 3, 2007, and it became operational on October 1, 2007.

The railway was run as Tanzania Railway Ltd, with the government of Tanzania owning a 49 per cent stake.

After privatization, the railway line was faced with several problems, including worn-out coaches and locomotive engines, and strikes by workers, crippling rail services.

Mbarawa Makame, the east African nation’s Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, said the new railway corporation will be responsible for handling all rail matters, including transportation services, developing, promoting and managing railway infrastructure assets in the country.

In his statement to parliament, Makame said the bill will replace the current Railway Act No.4 of 2002.

“All the contracts and agreements, including debts, entered by TRL and RAHCO will be accumulated into the new public corporation,” said Makame.

Debating the Bill, a number of MPs called on the government to address various issues that led to failure of the performance of the railway industry in the country.

Hussein Bashe, Nzega MP, said there was need for the government to ensure the new entity should be left free to carry out services so that it can be competent enough to reach the intended goal of profit making. 

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Human rights body urges Tanzania to ratify
international treaty banning death penalty

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance on Wednesday urged the government to ratify an international treaty abolishing death penalty.

The treaty, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, requires all member states, among other things, to abolish death penalty.

In a statement, the commission commended President John Magufuli’s position that he will not implement the death penalty despite the fact that the law allowed him to do so.

President Magufuli made the statement on Monday during the swearing in ceremony of Chief Justice Ibrahim Hamisi Juma.

“The decision by the President is in line with the international covenants and the declarations by the United Nations which require member states to abolish or stop the death penalty,” said the statement.

On Tuesday, the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) in Tanzania commended President Magufuli’s stance on the execution of death sentence.

President Magufuli had said he was not going to sign execution warrants for any death row inmates sentenced to die by hanging after being convicted of various serious crimes.

“I am aware of the difficulties in implementing such sentences, so I am telling the courts not to submit to me the list of names of the prisoners who are in line to be hanged to death.”

Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, the LHRC Executive Director, said President Magufuli’s statement was encouraging.

“However, the president should influence changes of the law to abolish the death by hanging punishment or provide lighter penalties,” Kijo-Bisimba told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Magufuli’s statement came at a time when there are a total of 465 inmates currently on death row and waiting to be executed in various prisons across the country.

The 2015 report of the Human Rights and Good Governance Commission (HRGGC) shows that of the 465 inmates currently on death row, 445 are men and 20 are women.

             

 

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