THE just released audit report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has unveiled further loss of billions of money at the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) during the 2019/2020 financial year.
The report that was made public on Thursday after being presented in the Parliament in Dodoma revealed an embezzlement of 3.76bn/- and another 655.58m/- loss due to award of contracts to unqualified bidders.
CAG Charles Kichere also noted a loss of 979,126.59 US dollars, following the TPA’s decision to grant a waiver of storage charges to Mbeya Cement Company Limited (MCCL).
The CAG noted that on April 30th, 2018, TPA submitted to its Board a request letter of a waiver of 1.52 million US dollars from MCCL in respect of port storage charges payable by MCCL’s customers in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi, who shipped their cement consignment through Kasanga Port.
He said the request on tax waiver was made on grounds that MCCL’s customers had faced challenges in securing vessels to collect their orders from Kasanga Port on time and therefore, the consignment became obsolete. And that, on April 17th, 2019 through a circular resolution, the Board granted 100 per cent waiver on the requested amount. MCCL was then required to pay 50,000 US dollars to cover handling costs plus 7,226 US dollars for removal charges only.
“I learnt that the consignment of 1445.2 metric tonnes (28,904 bags), which became obsolete at Kasanga Port had accrued charges of 543,244.66 US dollars that qualified for waiver consideration by the TPA board,” he said.
CAG Kichere said in his audit report that the paper submitted to the TPA board of directors on 14th April, 2019 requested a waiver of 1.52 million US dollars, which included accrued storage cost of 543,244.66 US dollars and storage charges of 979,126.59 US dollars for consignment which were successfully shipped from Kasanga Port between January, 2013 and October, 2017 and no loss was suffered and therefore did not qualify for the waiver.
“Considering the whole consignment of 1445.2 metric tonnes as obsolete and granting the waiver of 1.52 million US dollars instead of actual charges of 543,244.66 US dollars caused TPA a loss of revenue to the tune of 979,126.59 US dollars,” he noted.
Moreover, CAG noted government debts amounting to 1.96bn/- was written off without approval and identified a loss that was incurred due to partial implementation of a contract amounting to 2.26m US dollars. Further fraudulent incidents were also noted at Mwanza and Kigoma Ports. Speaking of Mwanza Port, the CAG said there is a loss of 3.27bn/- that was withdrawn from TPA’s Bank Account at CRDB Bank through 737 transactions.
These payments were not supported by payments vouchers and were not recorded in the cash book. At Kigoma Port, 655.9m/- was withdrawn from the bank by using 30 cheques which were not supported by payment vouchers to substantiate the payments made, and cheques were not registered in the cheque book register.
Another five cheque leaves could neither be traced in the register nor in the bank statements.
“The documents such as cheque books, cash transfer documents and tender board minutes were not provided by management for further scrutiny,” he said, recommending TPA to collaborate with security organs to ensure funds are recovered and legal measures are taken against all involved individuals.
CAG Kichere also noted that the Director General had directed changes of tariffs charged to vessels handled at Mwanza South Port without Tariff Review Committee and Board of Directors’ approvals. According to him, this was contrary to Section 71 of the Port Act, 2004, which requires the authority to prepare a Tariff Book of rates and charges.
“It was also contrary to Regulation 3.2.1 of TPA Revised Financial Regulations, 2018 which requires the Director General to be advised on tariff matters by a Tariff Review Committee,” he noted