- Published on Friday, 08 June 2012 05:51
- Written by ALVAR MWAKYUSA
- Hits: 1142
TRANSPORT Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has finally cleared the air on circumstances leading to the firing of the Acting Managing Director of Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL), Mr Paul Chizi.
He said that Mr Chizi was not transparent in his dealings at the national airline. Dr Mwakyembe revoked the appointment of Mr Chizi last Thursday and suspended four senior officials of the airline, citing breach of laws and regulations of public service.
"No one is indispensable. The former MD (Mr Chizi) had been making decisions without consulting the ministry, despite the fact that it is the ministry that has been paying salaries for ATCL. "I also have reports of some ATCL employees sabotaging the corporation by operating as agents of other airlines. If there is anyone offended by the sacking of the former MD should quit," declared the apparently determined minister.
Dr Mwakyembe was forced to make the clarification at a meeting with ATCL workers in Dar es Salaam yesterday, following unofficial complaints by the workers that Mr Chizi had been mistreated. He explained further that Mr Chizi had previously worked with ATCL until the year 2002 when he formally retired and received his benefits.
"Thus, his appointment last year violated the Public Service Act and regulations because he was not vetted before he was appointed. In such condition I had no alternative but to revoke the appointment," Dr Mwakyembe said. He also accused Mr Chizi of not involving the government in the recent leasing of Boeing 737-500 from Dubai's based Aero vista, stating that even the Attorney General (AG)'s office was not consulted in the drafting of the lease contract.
"The former MD also violated public procurement procedures by contracting a Chinese company to make 17 sets of uniforms for workers at the cost of US $49,000 (approximately 78.4m/-) without floating a tender for the deal. "As if that is not enough, two officials spent 45 days in China to oversee the dressmaking," he explained. Dr Mwakyembe made it clear that the government was tired of pumping cash into the ailing airline and yet it had remained inefficient in its operations.
"You should understand that the money that government pumps into ATCL is hard-earned revenue from taxpayers of this country. We cannot continue to pour in cash while the corporation is being mishandled," he told the workers. He said the government has pledged to pump in some 4.9bn/- in ATCL which would be used for refurbishment of its Dash-8 plane, insurance and operation costs.
Dr Mwakyembe also blamed Mr Chizi for disobeying a directive by the government not to deposit four million US dollars (about 7bn/-) that ATCL was to receive as compensation for its Dash-8 plane that had an accident at the Kigoma airstrip recently.
"We had told him to deposit the money in CHC (Consolidated Holdings Corporation) or the ministry's accounts since ATCL accounts were overwhelmed by debts but he did the opposite. "As a result, one million US dollars that was deposited in the ATCL accounts by the insurance company ended up to creditors. I am even informed that it was the ATCL management that tipped the creditors of the money in the account," he bitterly explained.
Dr Mwakyembe, however, was optimistic that President Jakaya Kikwete would soon form a new board of directors for the ATCL that would steer the company towards progress. The new board would be required in the shortest time possible to hire a new management team for the company, according to Dr Mwakyembe.
"I will enter into performance contract with the board and so will it with the management. If the board management fails, then they will go," he avowed. Speaking after the minister, the new Acting MD of ATCL, Captain Lusajo Lazaro, pledged obedience to the government in running of the company. He was optimistic that the company, with about 201 employees, would be able to stand on its feet by the end of this year.