Thursday, April 21, 2016

At last Kabwe reacts over his recent suspension from office

DAR ES SALAAM City Director Wilson Kabwe, who was unceremoniously suspended by President John Magufuli early this week in Dar es Salaam  over a series of alleged corruption-tainted malpractices, has maintained that all the contracts he signed while in office were legal and up to scratch. With regard to his suspension from duty, Kabwe said while he respects the president’s decision, he was ready for any investigation into his conduct and would cooperate with investigating authorities to prove his innocence. “The appointing authority cannot be challenged. I respect President Magufuli’s decision,” a calm-sounding Kabwe told The Guardian in a telephone interview. He was speaking shortly after the president announced his suspension in typically abrupt manner during the public inauguration of the new Kigamboni Bridge (Nyerere Bridge) in Dar es Salaam. Magufuli was responding to an earlier narration by recently-appointed Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda of alleged cheating in contracts entered between the Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) and contractors for various city services. The alleged contract anomalies are believed to have cost the government billions of shillings in siphoned-off revenue from the city’s coffers. RC Makonda cited in particular two dubious contracts entered by DCC and different private agents for the collection of vehicle parking fees at the Ubungo Bus Terminal (UBT) and within the city’s central business district. He said two UBT contracts were signed for the same purpose within 24 hours of each other in January 2005, whereby one contract under existing 2009 legislation was signed on January 30 and another contract using a previous 2004 law was signed on January 31, using the same agent. The contract available for scrutiny at DCC is the one under the old 2004 law which charged 4,000/- for each bus using the terminal, but the agent was using the amended 2009 law to charge 8,000/- per bus, indicating that half the total revenue collected was in fact being swindled, Makonda said. “Under the 2009 legislation which was being used to collect the fees, the revenue should not be less than 84 million/- per month, while the (outdated) 2004 legislation presented in the city council’s books of accounts set the revenue collection at just 42m/- per month,” the RC stated. According to Makonda, the move has been causing the city council a loss of at least 42m/- monthly, amounting to a total loss of 3 billion/- for the full contract period since January 2005 to date. 

The suspended former Dar es Salaam city Director Wilson Kabwe. His suspension from the office was announced at a public function by his Excellency President John Magufuli.

Both contracts were signed by Kabwe on DCC’s behalf, he said. It had also been discovered that the same agent was still collecting the fees a good ten months after his initial contract expired, which was contrary to official contract regulations, Makonda added. He said in August last year, the DCC director wrote to the agent allowing him six more months on the job while the city council initiated a tendering process for a new agent. But just as the six months were about to expire, the acting DCC director gave the same agent another four months doing the same job through an official letter as the tendering process continued. After RC Makonda completed his narration, the listening President Magufuli wasted little time in announcing Kabwe’s suspension on the spot and telling present officials to “send him my greetings”. “I will not entertain such kind of leaders in my administration … and anyone else who will be caught doing things like this will also be removed,” Magufuli said. He directed relevant authorities to start investigating the apparent scam further and institute legal action against all people found to be involved. The head of state also directed that all activities under the current UBT parking fees contract to be halted and a proper legal process to be followed to find another agent.
MEANWHILE: During the 2012/13 parliamentary budget sessions in  Dodoma, Members of Parliament (MPs) became furious and  wanted the government to take action against the Director of Dar es Salaam City Council, Mr Wilson Kabwe, for various malpractices and inefficiency. The MPs said Mr Kabwe was forced out of office in Mbeya and Mwanza cities by councilors and the public for similar reasons, but instead of being disciplined he was transferred to the Dar es Salaam City Council despite mounting complaints against him. Chairman of the National Assembly, Mr Mussa Zungu Azzan, went a step further and hinted that the matter of the director was expected to be brought up during a meeting between the Parliament Steering Committee and Premier Mizengo Pinda. Mr Azzan, who is also the MP for Ilala in Dar es Salaam Region, said while Mr Kabwe was the director of Mwanza City Council, he caused many problems which eventually led to the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) losing elections in the area. "This person has serious problems. He caused CCM to lose elections in Mwanza and the government has been too lax in dealing with him after all he has done everywhere he goes. He has to go," he said. UIt was alleged that Mr Kabwe gave contracts to the company wherever he was posted despite its being suspected of malpractices. Mr Joseph Selasini also said that the Parliamentary Local Government Accounts Committee had already issued complaints about Mr Kabwe but the government had so far not responded.

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