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Tanzania probes seven government officials over corruption claims

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s anti-corruption watchdog has launched an investigation into seven government officials, including police officers, over corruption accusations, an official said on Monday.

Diwani Athumani, the Director General of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), said the investigation of the officials followed President John Magufuli’s directive made on Friday to investigate them during a meeting with prominent businessmen.

Athumani said in a statement issued in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam that the officials facing investigations over corruption allegations were from the police force and the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

He said one official from TRA and two police officers could be taken to court over holding cargo of a businessman after they had asked to pay 2 million Tanzanian shillings (about 870 U.S. dollars) in bribe.

Athumani added that the TRA and police officials had accused the businessman of under-declaring the cargo.

He said other suspects involved in this incident were still under investigations.

Athumani said PCCB was also investigating four employees of TRA for over-estimating taxes to the tune of 3.1 billion Tanzanian shillings to a company called Steps Entertainment.

On Saturday, President Magufuli sacked the Minister for Industry and Trade, Joseph Kakunda, and the TRA Commissioner General, Charles Kichere.

The president sacked the two officials a day after meeting prominent businessmen from across the country who complained about poor performance of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and TRA.


Tanzanian government to vet public figures in 12 regions: official

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s state-owned Public Leaders Ethics Secretariat on Monday announced plans to conduct vetting of public figures in 12 regions to establish if there was any conflict of interests among them.

Harold Nsekela, the Ethics Commissioner, said in a statement that the vetting will be done in the next few days in regions including Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Geita and Kagera.

Nsekela said the vetting was an ordinary exercise, adding that the secretariat was obliged to oversee public figures behavior and implementation of the Ethics Act Number 13 of 1995 together with amendments made on the law.

The secretariat is mandated to oversee the political conduct of public leaders and it is charged with the duty of receiving, keeping and verifying declarations of properties owned by leaders.

Such declarations, made at the end of each year, was supposed to be a good indicator of a leader’s integrity or the lack of it.

Tanzanian president directs officials to address business hurdles

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Monday directed newly appointed senior government officials to deliver by addressing business issues and shortfalls raised in their dockets, warning that he will not hesitate sacking them whenever they made mistakes.

He directed newly appointed Minister for Industry and Trade Innocent Bashungwa, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Edwin Mhede and Njombe Regional Administrative Secretary Charles Kicheere not to celebrate their appointment because the task ahead was huge.

He made the directive shortly after he had sworn in the three officials at a ceremony that was televised live by the public broadcaster Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Magufuli expressed his dissatisfaction with the way things were moving at TRA and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, saying it was the reason for the changes.

He said one of the tasks for the Ministry of Industry and Trade was to find a market for cashew nut farmers, explaining it was sad to see that nothing has been done.

Magufuli said Tanzanians wanted actions and that the former Minister for Industry and Trade Joseph Kakunda and former TRA Commissioner General Kicheere did not impress him in the way they carried out their duties in their dockets.

"Business people told me they never knew the Minister for Industry and Trade.

"I had no problem if as a minister you went around listening to grievances by businessmen," he said.

On TRA, Magufuli said it reached a time when he used to send text messages to Kicheere telling him of some tax incidences for him to take actions which according to the president he responded to have received and promised to work on them but, nothing was done.

Last Friday, Magufuli met representatives of business people from across Tanzania’s mainland who complained to him on how TRA officials were harassing them.

The traders accused TRA officials of over estimation of tax, their involvement in corruption and unfriendly administration of tax regimes.

A day later, Magufuli suspended Kakunda as Minister for Industry and Trade and replaced him with Bashungwa, shifted Kicheere from TRA where he was Commissioner General to Njombe as Regional Administrative Secretary and appointed Mhede to head TRA.

Tanzania’s inflation rate rises to 3.5  percent in May: official

DAR ES SALAAM (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s annual headline inflation rate for May increased to 3.5 percent from 3.2 percent recorded in April 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

Irenius Ruyobwa, NBS Director for Statistical Operations, attributed the increase of the headline inflation to an increase of prices of commodities.

He said the overall index went up to 117.23 in May 2019 from 113.24 recorded in May 2018, adding that food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate increased to 2.2 percent from 0.9 percent in April 2019.

Annual inflation rate for food consumed at home and away from home for May 2019 increased to 3.9 percent from 2.7 percent recorded in April 2019, said Ruyobwa.

"On the other hand, the 12-month index change for non-food products in May 2019 has decreased to 4.7 percent from 5.3 percent recorded in April 2019," he said.

The official said the annual inflation rate which excluded food and energy for May 2019 has slightly decreased to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent recorded in April 2019.

On the same note, he said, the consumer price index from April 2019 to May 2019 has increased by 0.4 percent, compared to an increase of 0.5 percent from March 2019 to April 2019.

The overall index has increased to 117.23 in May 2019 from 116.82 recorded in April 2019, said Ruyobwa, adding: "The increase in overall index is attributed to price increase for both food and non-food items."

He said some food items that contributed to such increase included maize flour by 1.9 percent, vegetables by 1.5 percent, beans by 2.3 percent, potatoes by 8.4 percent and fresh cassava by 8.2 percent.

On the other hand, non-food items that contributed to such an increase included refrigerators by 3.5 percent, kitchen and domestic utensils by 2.5 percent, petrol by 3.9 percent and maintenance and repairs of vehicles by 2.9 percent, said the officials.


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