Thursday, December 17, 2015

Police to undertake security control at all major ports

Police force in the country has been ordered back to provide security at all of the country’s major ports to check against rising cases of loss of government revenue through corruption. The Minister for Home Affairs, Charles Kitwanga made an order on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam by giving reasons that they should take charge of security at the country’s main ports to plug loopholes which had led to loss of billions in government revenue. Kitwanga whose order comes at a time when the police and Tanzania Revenue Authority are busy investigating loss of billions of shillings in import duty and wharfage not paid by importers. “I wonder why we are still using private security companies in our main ports while we have enough state security machinery to take charge of the role,” the newly appointed minister noted as the Director of Criminal Investigations moves to interrogate more Tanzania Ports Authority officials of the so called wharfage committee formed by former acting Director General, Madeni Kipande in 2013. 

Tanzania's Minister for Home Affairs Mr. Charles Kitwanga responding questions by journalists (unseen in the picture) at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.

He said it was a big mistake to remove state security officers from Dar es Salaam port three years ago because since then, the security situation had deteriorated as crooks collude with importers to dodge taxes. “Some 2,431 containers passed through Dar es Salaam port without paying wharfage while another 349 did not pay any taxes,” Kitwanga said, saying dishonest employees at both TPA and TRA were behind the loss in government revenue. Meanwhile, members of the committee formed by Kipande to take charge of all cargo destined for inland container depots and cargo freight stations were blamed for loss of billions in wharfage fees and were now facing police interrogation. So far the Police have only detained, Rajah Mdoe who was Deputy Director General and Director of Finance for the unpaid wharfage of thousands of containers and motor vehicles which disappeared from inland container depots and cargo freight stations between 2013 and 2015. Police spokesperson Advera Bulembo said they were interrogating a number of TPA former and current employees but declined to mention names. “If we start mentioning them then it’s obviously that it was not going to be an investigation, we will let you know at later stage,” Bulembo said. Sources at the Dar es Salaam Port Said, the acting Port Manager, Hebel Mhanga who chaired Kipande’s committee since 2013, was summoned by investigators at the Director of Criminal Investigations earlier this week. Mhanga is also accused of sitting on an audit report which was submitted last June by TPA Internal Audit Manager, Amina Makoko. Mhanga sat on the audit report which was leaked to the media last week because his committee was directly responsible for the loss.

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