Tanzanian officials suspended over corruption investigation

By on 16/02/2016
President John Magufuli was inaugurated in November 2015

Officials of a national electronic identification-card project in Tanzania have become the latest victims of President John Magufuli’s anti-corruption drive.

Magufuly suspended the director general of the National Identification Authority (NIDA), Dickson Maimu, and four other officials of the authority pending a graft investigation and an audit of the 179.6 billion-shillings ($82.20m) that NIDA has so far spent on the project.

Magufuli, who took office late last year, has pledged to root out corruption and inefficiency in the country and has already removed several senior officials from office, including the head of the government’s anti-graft body, a senior rail official and the head of the country’s port authority.

“The president has also instructed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau to investigate if there was any corruption involved,” his office said in a statement.

Immediately after his inauguration in November, he scrapped independence celebrations, ordering instead for the money to be spent on sanitation, fighting cholera and new beds and equipment for hospitals.

He said it would be shameful to spend “huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera.”

His austerity measures included a ban on foreign travel for government officials or expensive hotels and cars.

He also banned civil servants from sending Christmas and New Year cards from the government’s budget and said that the funds set aside for the printing of these cards would instead be used to pay off government debts.

In another bold move, he decided that instead of sponsoring the annual World Aids Day exhibition, the money budgeted for the event would be used to buy drugs for HIV patients.

Nicknamed ‘the bulldozer’, Magufuli became a Twitter sensation across Africa shortly after being elected for introducing radical government cost-cutting measures.

However, the opposition party has already coined a phrase in Swahili for his reforms – ‘Nguvu ya soda’, meaning ‘the power of soda’, to signify that reformers have come and gone in Tanzania before.

Opponents are betting that Magufuli’s reforming spirit will fizzle out like an open bottle of soda in the hot African sun.

Tanzania is one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients, but payments have been repeatedly delayed because donors were concerned about corruption, poor governance and the slow pace of reforms.

In 2014, a group of donors withheld nearly $500 million in budget support to Tanzania over corruption allegations in the energy industry after a scandal led to the resignations of three cabinet ministers, according to Reuters news agency.

 

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See also:

Nordic countries perform best in global corruption ranking

How Is Corruption Measured And Eliminated?

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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