Magufuli loses battle against corruption

TANZANIA’s President John Magufuli, once hailed by western media as a “bulldozer of graft” has officially lost the battle against corruption. While he enjoys branding himself as a corruption fighter, audit reports show that he is presiding over a corrupt government that spends billions of public funds unscrupulously, with no regard to laws and laid down procedures.

Worse still, his government keeps working to block or silence those attempting to find out and publicise findings about grand corruption in his regime – particularly deficiencies associated with his leadership judgements.

The latest audit report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) reveals that during the year 2017/2018, the Magufuli government squandered trillions of shillings through dubious deals and transactions, including illegal procurements and misappropriation through the country’s treasury.

In total, Tsh 1.3 trillion (equivalent to $562 million, was “embezzled.” Out of this amount, the treasury faces an audit query amounting to Tsh 885 billion (equivalent to $382.7m). Tsh  432.7 billion, equivalent to $188m, was embezzled through procurement of goods and services from five entities whose suppliers were neither approved nor legally registered.

This is not the first time the CAG’s report queries the treasury over misappropriation of public funds. Last year, the audit raised the same query over Tsh 751 billion (equivalent to $324.6m) embezzled in the year  2016/2017.

The CAG writes emphatically about this: “I reiterate my prior year recommendation, and ( I am) advising accounting officers to keep refraining from diversion of funds, and adhere to expenditures that only fall within the approved budget and the Government Financial Statistics (GFS) codes. Whenever such diversion is inevitable and in line with authority, reallocation warrant has to be sought in conjunction with Section 41 of the Budget Act No. 11 of 2015.”

In 2018, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, having read the CAG’s report for the year 2016/17, discovered that Tsh 1.5 trillion ($640m) was “missing.” The government did not have any reasonable explanation.

The parliament ordered a re-audit of the same. When the re-audit report was presented in February 2019, it revealed further anomalies, with the missing funds shooting to Tsh 2.4 trillion ($1.03bn).

Informed sources within the government say authorities are obviously exasperated by the CAG’s reports, and they are behind a current barrage of accusations by the National Assembly Speaker, Job Ndugai, against the CAG Prof. Mussa Assad.

It is understood that some procurement is executed by direct orders from the president, whose nephew, Dotto James, permanent secretary for the ministry of finance, is the treasurer general.

On several occasions, Magufuli has said publicly that he personally ordered the purchase of air crafts, on advice from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, against budgetary approval. A few months ago, he said in a public address that the air crafts, managed by Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL), had made huge financial profits.  

But reports reveal that for the past three years, ATCL has incurred massive losses. In 2014/15, the losses amounted to Tsh 94.3 billion. In 2015/16, it made losses to the tune of Tsh 109.2 billion, while in 2017/18, the losses were Tsh 113.7 billion.

Reacting to incessant audit queries, and in effort to avoid further audit, the government is now rearranging the government procurement unit, putting it in the president’s office. Sources say the move is being executed following “orders from above,” but it will definitely cause further embarrassment and bring about more scandals against the president as he becomes the procurer-in-chief.  

Magufuli enjoys working without being monitored or audited; and he hates criticism of any kind. This attitude explains his government’s brutality and hostility against critical media, opposition parties, objective academic researches, and strongly opinionated civil leaders. His most recent action was to block publication of an annual report by IMF on the state of the economy in Tanzania; although later the government denied taking such action. 

By this behaviour, it is obvious that Magufuli has lost the battle against corruption. He has moved miles away from the integrity that he was once, wrongly, of course, associated with. Some circles within his own government point out that there has never been a more corrupt regime before him.

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11 Comments
  1. Mwidimisi Munnisi 3 months ago
    Reply

    Anything good he’s doing

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    • Ansbert Ngurumo 3 months ago
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      It is not news but a responsibility.

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      • Abuu Shani 3 months ago
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        My single humbly question to my fellow country men ruling Tanzania since Independence:
        When you talk about corruption issues, who are responsible for corruption?
        The CAG report is just a top of iceberg in Tanzania. As long there is no system in place nothing will work out.

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  2. Good luck tarimo 3 months ago
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    Ok, but I doubt in this issue of IMF. Remember IMF is Americans so it could be a sabotage to our country because of what happened to their fellows from Canada in the issue of Makinikia. Could that be a reason for the IMF Report??

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  3. Simbwa David Jograss 3 months ago
    Reply

    Corruption is never got rid of 100%. However, mitigation measures in place check and limit. Even our cherished IMF or World bank groups have corruption issues. I think Tanzania is doing fairly well as far as limiting corruption tendencies is concerned in the Great lakes region!

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  4. oliveri 3 months ago
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    Surely this is the republic of gangsters

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  5. Nkwazi Mhango 3 months ago
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    Muwe makini na maandiko yenu. Hivi kweli tshs 1.3tn ni sawa na $562bn?! Hii pesa ni kubwa mno kwa nchi yeyote ya kiswahili ndugu yangu. Semeni Magufuli hajafanikiwa kuangamiza ufisadi. Pia tuelewe kuwa kupambana na ufisadi ni process but not an event. Ikilinganishwa na tawala tatu zilizotangulia Magufuli ni kama amefanikiwa

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    • Ansbert Ngurumo 3 months ago
      Reply

      Hiyo ya billion ni slip of a finger. Asante kwa kuiona.

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  6. Nkwazi Mhango 3 months ago
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    In total, Tsh 1.3 trillion (equivalent to $562 billion, was “embezzled.” if Tsh 2.4 trillion is equivalent to $1.03bn. Ngurumo you cannot be serious. So, please get your facts right and avoid being biased and sensational. Frankly speaking, the amount allegedly to have been embezzled is humongous for a poor country like Tanzania. So, too, looking at what Magufuli has already achieved compared to his predecessor, methinks give him his credit. He has achieved more than would in just four years. As for ticking all the boxes vis-a-vis corruption, we need to understand that fighting graft is a process but not just an event. We may drone and rabbit on what we think is Magufuli’s failure. To do so and avoid being seeing as glossing over the whole thing, we need to, at least, compare to other regimes. “But reports reveal that for the past three years, ATCL has incurred massive losses. In 2014/15, the losses amounted to Tsh 94.3 billion. In 2015/16, it made losses to the tune of Tsh 109.2 billion, while in 2017/18, the losses were Tsh 113.7 billion.” Seriously? Can you please cite these reports provided that such matters are sensitive, especially for us Tanzanians? Reports are not like sources that the journalist is not duty bound to divulge. Importantly, try to check consider your appointment of words to avoid inducing your readership not to mention some typos such as using air crafts whereas there is nothing like that. air craft singular and plural is air craft.
    I am not a government spokesperson. I thus should warn myself not to write a missive.

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    • Ansbert Ngurumo 3 months ago
      Reply

      Nkwazi, there was a bit of typos. They are being delt with, thanks to your keen eye. The rest is your opinion, to which you are entitled.

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  7. Forex Review 3 months ago
    Reply

    As an anti-corruption conference ends in London, in Tanzania the battle to end graft is on in earnest. At the forefront is President John Magufuli. In his five months in office, he’s already shown he means business.

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