A Probe team formed by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has unearthed massive financial irregularities in Western Zone Tobacco Growers Cooperative Union (WETCU), it has been revealed.
The Premier had on March 16, this year, disbanded the board of directors for WETCU and Tanzania Tobacco Board (TTB) after it came to light that the two institutions had failed to properly supervise the cash crop and were marred in embezzlement.
Mr Majaliwa went further and ordered Tabora Regional Police Commander (RPC) to arrest four leaders of WETCU and freeze the bank accounts of the co-operative union pending investigations by the probe team.
Addressing over 300 tobacco stakeholders over the weekend, during a one-day working visit in Tabora, the PM said the team investigating the cooperative union cited massive financial irregularities.
“The cooperative union did not have a procurement unit for tenders; they just formed a company called Flu and Tobacco Union (a company made up of chairpersons of tobacco cooperative unions countrywide) which took up all procurement tenders for farm inputs,” Mr Majaliwa disclosed.
Adding; “We made an investigation in the bank accounts and found out that there was no money from that company for WETCU.” The PM disclosed further that the management of the union had purchased a vehicle with registration number T 181 DEN at a cost of 220m/- contrary to deliberations by the national congress which had pegged the amount at 40m/-.
“What is worse is that the purchased vehicle is of 2008 edition, and yet they showed that it was manufactured in 2015, which had traveled for 95,000 kilometres.
They adjusted it to show that it had only travelled 16,000 kilometres,” he explained. Mr Majaliwa ordered for the arrest of Managing Director of 4 by 4 Tanzania Limited, Mr Faraz Yaseen, for his role in altering the purchase documents to show that the vehicle was of 2015 rather than 2008 edition.
He explained further that leaders of WETCU had sold out six million out of its 36 million shares which earned them 2.52bn/- which they used to purchase the vehicle and office furniture and stationery at the cost of 49m/-.
PM Majaliwa stated further that due to huge debts at CRDB and NMB banks, the management of WETCU decided to open a bank account at EXIM Bank, where they ‘generated 14m/-’ in deposit interest rates from a fixed account. “I have directed the Registrar of Cooperative Union to find out people behind the transactions at EXIM Bank in Tabora,” he stated.
The meeting between the PM and tobacco stakeholders was attended by the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and People with Disabilities), Ms Jenista Mhagama, the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba as well as district commissioners and district executive directors.
Source:Daily News 17/04/2017