By Dumisani Sigogo
Tanzania’s on Thursday fired nine senior officials from the country’s anti-graft watchdog over allegations of corruption, embezzlement and theft related to the construction of the body’s seven buildings in seven districts.
The officials from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) who are attached to its estate management unit are being investigated after President John Magufuli suspected that, one of the new buildings he was about to inaugurate in Chamwino district did not meet the value of the money that was released by the government.
Brigadier General John Mbungo , the director general of the of PCCB), said the suspension of the nine officials comes after President Magufuli expressed doubt on July 22, over the real cost of the Chamwino PCCB building which cost 148 million Tanzanian shillings (US$64,000).
Mbungo told a news conference in Dodoma on July 23 that nine officials from the PCCB involved in the procurement and valuation process had been fired from their jobs after it was established that they inflated costs for construction of the office buildings across the country.
President Magufuli approved the construction of PCCB the offices which were built across the country but while officially opening the Dodoma building, Magufuli doubted that Shs 148million was the real cost used to construct the facility.
“I asked the Prime Minister and said maybe it would cost about 60million Tanzania shillings but in my own view this could even cost less than that,” Magufuli commented following the incident.
The suspended officials were PCCB’s estate management department’s engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, construction managers and building engineers.
Under the leadership of Magufuli nicknamed ‘Buldozer’ for his tough action against high level corruption Tanzania was recently elevated by the World Bank to a middle income economy.
Magufali who is known for arriving unannounced at construction sites to inspect the progress on state projects and publicly firing on the spot officials who abuse of office or harass citizens.
Two years ago, Magufuli sacked Valentino Mlowola, the then PCCB Director General for failing to act on corruption charges raised on delayed a hotel project.
Mbungo said a four-member independent team from the Contractors Registration Board, the Tanzania Building Agency and Suma Construction Company Limited, a construction unit under the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces had been formed to conduct the investigations within a week beginning July 27.
Mbungo added that he had also dissolved the PCCB’s estate management department to pave way for formation of a new unit.