Escrow scandal: 3 set to take the fall


Harbinder Singh Sethi: The purported new owner of IPTL after his company, Pan African Power Solutions (PAP) bought the shares from Merchmar Corporation and VIP Engineering
Harbinder Singh Sethi: The purported new owner of IPTL after his company, Pan African Power Solutions (PAP) bought the shares from Merchmar Corporation and VIP Engineering
Harbinder Singh Sethi: The purported new owner of IPTL after his company, Pan African Power Solutions (PAP) bought the shares from Merchmar Corporation and VIP Engineering
Harbinder Singh Sethi: The purported new owner of IPTL after his company, Pan African Power Solutions (PAP) bought the shares from Merchmar Corporation and VIP Engineering

Dar/Dodoma. Plans are reportedly underway to compel three officials to sacrifice their positions in order to save the government from crumbling under the weight of the Escrow scandal.

This comes amid unconfirmed reports that tabling of the damning report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) would be pushed back from next Thursday to early next week following pressure from MPs and the public. Speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday, some PAC members said they had completed the report after interviewing Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) boss Edward Hoseah. Acting Controller and Auditor General Francis Mwakapalila and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Rished Bade were also questioned.

On Thursday, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Zitto Kabwe told Parliament that his committee had virtually gone through the CAG report and it would finish writing its report anytime. “We will be ready to table the report any time you want us to do so,” he said. “If you want us to table it even tomorrow, we are ready.”

The resignation is one of strategies agreed on during an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda on Thursday evening in Dodoma.

The meeting was called after a Parliament session in which MPs set aside their ideological differences and unanimously called for accountability from those found to have abused the Tegeta escrow account. The MPs jeered the premier when he told them that, whatever they were planning to do with the PAC report, there should be no conflict between Parliament and the Judiciary.

According to our sources, the Cabinet has asked two top ranking civil servants to resign in order to save the government from the consequences of the escrow scandal. The emergency Cabinet meeting was called only hours after a plot to use the Judiciary to block Parliament from debating a report by PAC seemingly flopped after law-makers warned that any attempt to block the tabling of the report would lead to chaos in the country.

The move to sacrifice some public servants follows a failed attempt to block a debate in Parliament on the PAC report, which has been drawn from the CAG’s dossier, on how the money from the Tegeta escrow account was fraudulently withdrawn.

MPs booed Mr Pinda on Thursday morning as he sought to explain that the Judiciary and Parliament were independent.

The Public Accounts Committee heard on Wednesday how some top government officials and MPs were paid billions of shillings suspected to have come from the Tegeta escrow account. PAC was also told how senior government officials aided Pan African Power Solutions Tanzania Limited in evading tax in its dubious acquisition of Independent Power Tanzania (IPTL).

But, as it was preparing the report, it emerged that the Judiciary had written to Parliament reminding it that debating the report would amount to contempt of the law as there was a pending court case on the same issue.

But MPs did not want to hear any of it and insisted that the Judiciary had no mandate to direct Parliament on how it should conduct its business–in much the same way as Parliament has no power to direct the Judiciary on how to discharge its duties.

The Tegeta escrow scandal revolves around the questionable withdrawal from the central bank of a whopping Sh306 billion in taxpayers’ money that was shared among individuals in government and the private sector.

Dar/Dodoma. Plans are reportedly underway to compel three officials to sacrifice their positions in order to save the government from crumbling under the weight of the Escrow scandal.

This comes amid unconfirmed reports that tabling of the damning report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) would be pushed back from next Thursday to early next week following pressure from MPs and the public. Speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday, some PAC members said they had completed the report after interviewing Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) boss Edward Hoseah. Acting Controller and Auditor General Francis Mwakapalila and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Rished Bade were also questioned.

On Thursday, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Zitto Kabwe told Parliament that his committee had virtually gone through the CAG report and it would finish writing its report anytime. “We will be ready to table the report any time you want us to do so,” he said. “If you want us to table it even tomorrow, we are ready.”

The resignation is one of strategies agreed on during an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda on Thursday evening in Dodoma.

The meeting was called after a Parliament session in which MPs set aside their ideological differences and unanimously called for accountability from those found to have abused the Tegeta escrow account. The MPs jeered the premier when he told them that, whatever they were planning to do with the PAC report, there should be no conflict between Parliament and the Judiciary.

According to our sources, the Cabinet has asked two top ranking civil servants to resign in order to save the government from the consequences of the escrow scandal. The emergency Cabinet meeting was called only hours after a plot to use the Judiciary to block Parliament from debating a report by PAC seemingly flopped after law-makers warned that any attempt to block the tabling of the report would lead to chaos in the country.

The move to sacrifice some public servants follows a failed attempt to block a debate in Parliament on the PAC report, which has been drawn from the CAG’s dossier, on how the money from the Tegeta escrow account was fraudulently withdrawn.

MPs booed Mr Pinda on Thursday morning as he sought to explain that the Judiciary and Parliament were independent.

The Public Accounts Committee heard on Wednesday how some top government officials and MPs were paid billions of shillings suspected to have come from the Tegeta escrow account. PAC was also told how senior government officials aided Pan African Power Solutions Tanzania Limited in evading tax in its dubious acquisition of Independent Power Tanzania (IPTL).

But, as it was preparing the report, it emerged that the Judiciary had written to Parliament reminding it that debating the report would amount to contempt of the law as there was a pending court case on the same issue.

But MPs did not want to hear any of it and insisted that the Judiciary had no mandate to direct Parliament on how it should conduct its business–in much the same way as Parliament has no power to direct the Judiciary on how to discharge its duties.

The Tegeta escrow scandal revolves around the questionable withdrawal from the central bank of a whopping Sh306 billion in taxpayers’ money that was shared among individuals in government and the private sector.

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