Rushwa ya Tanzania- Corruption of Tanzania
Beginning of Corruption
Corruption started to occur in the elections of October 1995. Opposition parties and international observers considered the election flawed where CCM candidates Benjamin Mkapa was elected the union president in a vote. The Civic United Front (CUF) and international observers believed the CCM rigged the votes and intimidated the islands’ people and government to favor them. The CUF claimed victory until CCM rejected the results dominating the electoral commission declaring CCM candidate Salmin Amour the winner of the presidential race. CCM held the majority seats in Zanzibar’s House of Representatives. CUF boycotted gatherings of the Zanzibar House and refused to recognize the Amour government. Despite the agreement of the 1999 Commonwealth brokered, political tensions on the island were high.
Corruption of Police
Not only was the government corrupted with elections, but also with members of the police and security forces committing unlawful killings and mistreating suspected criminals. In the prisons, guards sometimes beat and sexually abuse prisoners. Zanzibar police officials fired Officer Pandu Ndance for the rape of a 13 year-old school girl at the police station. There were two other cases where one involved the rape of a 15 year-old female prisoner and a rape of a school girl inside of the police station as well. The National police force, under the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, has a responsibility to maintain law and order. Police are involved in corruption, impunity and uses excessive force. The police department has been fighting internal corruption with seminars through the country. Clodwig Mtweve, the commissioner for administration and finance of police forces said this program resulted in a reduction of complaints against the police, but cannot be objectively verified. The police force remains under funded and still largely inefficient.
In the Judicial system, the police frequently act as prosecutors before the courts. The courts experts allow police to tamper with evidence in criminal cases. According to Non-governmental Organizations (NGO), there were some cases where evidence was reported missing and suspects sometimes avoided prosecution by bribing police officers. In June the newspaper Habari Leo published a governmental survey on poverty and development in the country which found that the public in 10 out of 21 mainland regions considered the police force as the most corrupt institution, followed by the courts and then the judicial system. The September Daily News, a government daily, reported that two policemen were arrested in Singida region for taking bribes. During the same year the trial began of two policemen arrested in 2006 after drugs were stolen from police custody at the Ministry of Home Affairs Antinarcotics Unit in Dar es Salaam.
Corruption of Government Officials
There has also been corruption of government officials. There has been a major corruption of the World Bank’s Worldwide Governances Indicators. In the beginning of October, the government arrested and filed charges against more than twenty individuals including for Bank of Tanzania’s External payment Arrear (ERA) officials for their involvement in a scheme to obtain funds from the bank’s external payment account. These business tycoons and central Bank senior officials were also charged for theft, forgery, and conspiracy. The government had recovered 69 billion dollars of Tshs (approximately $53 million), 90 billion Tshs paid to 13 companies and 42 billion paid to nine companies which remain under investigation.
There was an estimation of 20 percent of the government budget in each year lost to corruption including fake purchasing transactions, theft and fraud. In January, 12 accountants working in the country’s embassies were recalled due to embezzlement of funds. These accountants were given disciplinary actions such as probations and suspensions. Several accountants were forced to resign. According to the Prevent of Corruption and Crime Bureau (PCCB), most corruption investigations concerned government involvement in mining, land matters, energy and investment. NGO reported that most allegations of corruption involve the country’s Revenue Authority, local government officials, licensing authorities, hospital workers and the media. In the article, Ignoring Corruption Enablers, written by Albert van Zyl, $30 million went missing from the Management of National Resources Programme (MNRP) whish funded by the Norwegian government and implemented by Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT). Over a 12 years period almost half of the funds allocated to the program may have been lost to corruption and mismanagement. Due to Norway’s more powerful position as a donor, the country was able to suspend funding and institute an external audit into the use of the funds granted to the Tanzanian government.
In early November, the Tanzanian government has arrested former government officials, ministers and high profile individuals. Refined Treasury permanent secretary Gary Mgonjo was taken to court and accused of abusing his official authority by arbitrarily ignoring the recommendation made by Tanzania revenue Authority (TRA) not to grant tax exemption to Alex Stewart Government Business Corporation Company in 2003. Former minister for Finance Basil Sambili Mramba and former Minister for Energy and Minerals, Daniel Ndhira Yona were brought to court as well for the same scandal.
Many people are praising President Jakaya Kikwete for handling corruption scandals. Others think that they are skeptical that these corruption charges are part of a political game that started during the last elections. Arresting these governmental officials is perceived that the president cares about the country and makes him more suitable to stay in office. In addition, these government officials are not being harshly penalized with felonies and not taken seriously. These government officials are being accused, being set off on bail, and not prosecuted. One Tanzanian stated that these cases of accused government officials benefits the court to get more money and bribes to amend bail conditions. All of the government officials appearing in court belong to another factor that was not on the side of President Kikwete’s Excellency during election. These former officials were on the side of Mkapa, a former President of Tanzania, with the intention of placing Sumai on the presidential seat. This is another political game which needs to come to an end.