The Public Accounts Committee of Tanzania’s parliament has called for a thorough investigation after accusing senior government officials and a banking institution of corruption and money laundering.
The government officials are accused of misappropriating $122 million of public funds.
Lawmakers voted Saturday to pass a binding resolution that demanded President Jakaya Kikwete fire the accused cabinet ministers. Those officials have denied the charges.
Deo Filikunjombe, vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and a leading member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), said the administration has no choice but to implement his committee’s recommendations because the constitution empowers the lawmaking body to supervise the government.
“We are not happy with some ministers and some government officials and we said we must take action. It was tough, yes, but eventually we came out with eight strong resolutions…We had recommendations for all pillars: the government, the judiciary and parliament,” said Filikunjombe.
“For the government, we have categorically stated that the president [should] remove the Minister of Energy and Minerals, the Attorney General, the Permanent Secretary at of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Minister of Lands, Professor [Anna] Tibaijuka, who confessed [to] having received $1 million as proceeds of the money,” said Filikunjombe.
Filikunjombe said the constitution mandates parliament to keep the government in check by ensuring transparency, upholding of the rule of law and protecting public funds.
He also said it’s the duty of parliament to advise the administration, despite opposition from Mr. Kikwete’s government.
“It’s been very unfortunate that the government normally doesn’t want to be supervised by the parliament. The government wants to be advised. They are muting the [other] function. So we think what we are doing is correct it is our mandate and out of the three pillars, the parliament is the supreme organ,” said Filikunjombe.
He said some members of parliament were also complicit in the corruption. The legislators are accused of abusing their parliamentary positions in the misappropriation of the public funds.
“We found two MPs [or] Members of Parliament who are also chairs of committees have received this money. So what we have recommended to the parliament [is that] they get removed from their positions as chairs and other disciplinary actions be taken against them,” said Filikunjombe.