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Tanzania to Freeze Foreign Accounts of Corrupt officials

In Tanzania, plans are afoot to confiscate properties belonging to corrupt public and private individuals once a review of the country’s anti-corruption law is completed. Anti corruption crusaders believe the action would show the government’s resolve to crack down on grand corruption, which is costing the nation billions of dollars. Minister of state in the president’s office Philip Marmo said the government is finalizing formalities for the draft bill, which is ready to be tabled in parliament. He said once the bill becomes law it would contain provisions to even freeze foreign bank accounts of corrupt officials.

Marmo talked more about the Tanzanian government’s new anti corruption drive.

“The envisaged new legislation would be brought to parliament in February next year, and I was telling the participants of the seminar that the new legislation will among other things include both provisions of international convention to fight against corruption … which stipulates that where investigation is going on properties and accounts may be frozen,” he said.

Marmo said anti-corruption laws in the country are outdated and need to be amended.

“May I remind you that our present legislation on corruption is old because it was enacted in 1971 and a lot of things have happened since then. So what we are now doing is to update that legislation on the experience we’ve had in the last thirty years including international conventions, which we have ratified,” Marmo noted.

He said gone are the days when some so-called big wigs were untouchable even when they were involved in corrupt activities.

“The new legislation is actually meant to get away from that traditional method of managing anti-corruption bureau. The new legislation envisaged that it would be managed by an independent board and it would report to only parliament,” he said.

Marmo said the new legislation would be significantly different from the old one.

“The difference is the leeway given to us by the international convention. But otherwise Tanzania as an English-speaking country follows common law. A person is innocent until proven guilty. That is the situation here and that is the rule of law that is enshrined in our constitution,” Marmo said.

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