Former mayor, 11 others in 63.4bn/- loss scandal

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PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has tasked Mbeya regional commander of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Mr Emmanuel Kiabo, to arrest and probe former city mayor Athanas Kapunga and 11 other people over causing a 63.4bn/- loss to the government.

The 12 people allegedly inflated the cost for construction of the Mbeya city market which is sub-standard. “This government can’t tolerate people who have caused such a huge loss to just one council. I direct that they should be arrested,” he stated.

He gave the order here yesterday, while speaking to staff of the district council and Mbeya city administrators. Besides Mr Kapunga, others on the wanted list are former directors at the city council, Mr Mussa Zungiza, Ms Elizabeth Munuo, Mr Juma Idd and Dr Samwel Lazaro.

Others are Mr James Jorojik (former treasurer) and members of the tender board Mr Mussa Mapunda, Mr Samweli Bubengwa, Mr Davis Mbembela, Ms Lydia Herbert and Mr Bernard Nsolo.

They allegedly inflated the cost of the project for their own interests and disregarded the city’s interests. Premier Majaliwa told the workers that from the very start, the project was faced with many challenges, and even the loan for funding it was borrowed without considering the business plan.

Failure to consider the business plan led to borrowing a larger amount of money than what was actually intended.

He explained further that contracts with tenants flouted laws governing public procurement, adding that tenants whose goods were destroyed when a fire razed the market in the past were not given priority to get new spaces after its repairs.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister directed the Regional Commissioner, Mr Amos Makalla to meet with the councillors and strategise on setting rents for spaces in the market.

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