The Case of Energy Ministry: Investigate all Parliamentary Standing Committees!

Sikika Press statement, Tuesday 19 July 2011: The withdrawal of the
Ministry of Energy and Minerals’ budget during the Parliamentary debate
is evidence that the responsible Parliamentary Committee either
intentionally or unintentionally, did not perform their prerogative role of
scrutinizing the budget well.
An independent investigation inquiry should be set up to look into the
possibility that Parliamentary Standing Committees may have been bribed by
the government in order to approve ineffective public budgets.

The media is awash with reports that the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda,
shelved the budget for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for three weeks
following a fierce debate over the current power and mining crisis. Lately,
the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, David
Jairo, had written a letter to agencies and institutions under his ministry
directing them to contribute Tsh 50 million each in order to facilitate
smooth tabling of his Ministry’s budget.

This seems to have been the usual tradition as part of the letter states
“…kama ilivyo kawaida wakati wa kuwasilisha hotuba ya bajeti Dodoma…”
although this time business turned out to be not as usual, rather a saga.

It was also reported in the media in the past few weeks that the
Parliamentary Standing
Committee responsible for the Ministry of Energy and Minerals may have been
bribed to approve the Ministry’s budget in Dar es Salaam. The feeling among
the public is that the case of the Ministry for Energy and their respective
Parliamentary Committee is not an isolated one.

Apparently, similar trends have been observed regarding other ministries.
For example,

most public institutions usually organize for seminars with the Parliament
before the budget debate for their respective ministries. These seminars
may possibly be meant to pay MPs in order for their budget loopholes to go

Tanzania is faced with perennial problems emanating from poor oversight of
the government
by the Parliament. Some of these problems include unprofitable business
contracts, grand
corruption scandals, public budgets fraught with unnecessary expenditures,
poor public financial management, and abuse and misuse of public funds.

Since both the Parliament and Government are implicated in this bribe
scandal, an
independentt body should be tasked to form an independent probe committee to
investigate these allegations of the government bribing the parliament.
Corrective measures should then be taken against those found responsible.

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