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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Police in Lugumi Deal trouble

  • House orders Force to submit report on fingerprint device contract

ALL is not well at the Tanzania Police Force following the 37bn/- contract it had entered with a private firm for the supply and installation of automated fingerprint devices at 108 district police stations across the country.

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Dr Thomas Kashilila, has issued a three-day ultimatum to the law enforcement organ to submit a performance report on the 37bn/- contract it entered with Lugumi Enterprises before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for scrutiny.

This comes two days after the police defied a directive by the parliamentary oversight committee to put forward the documents last Monday for assessment; following concerns raised by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) in the force’s audited accounts for financial year 2013/2014.

The contract in question was sealed in 2011 in which Lugumi Enterprises was to supply and install automated fingerprint devices at 108 district police stations across the country.

However, the gadgets have been fixed at only 14 stations while the firm has received 99 per cent of payments.

“Neither my committee nor the Clerk of the National Assembly have received the contract as PAC had instructed.

Last time we gave them an oral directive but since they have defied it, we have decided to engage the Clerk, who has immediately written to them.

“The Clerk has written to them (the police) to submit the contract to the committee within three days starting today (yesterday) or tomorrow (today), depending on when they will receive the letter,” the Deputy Chairperson of PAC, Mr Aeshi Hilaly (Sumbawanga Urban-CCM), told journalists yesterday.

Should the law enforcement organ fail to present the documents as required then the National Assembly will take actions as provided by the House’s Standing Orders, Mr Hilaly told reporters at the parliament’s sub-head office in Dar es Salaam.

“If the committee receives the contract, it will scrutinise it and then prepare recommendations to be presented in the full House,” Mr Hilaly, flanked by the Parliament’s Head of Communications, Mr Owen Mwandumbya, explained.

Some sources had hinted to ‘Daily News’ yesterday that the police had presented the documents before the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence on Monday instead of PAC.

“There is information going around that the contract was submitted on Monday before the Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Committee, which is chaired by former Tanzania High Commissioner to Zimbabwe and one-time Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Ambassador Adadi Rajabu,” the source hinted.

However, Mr Rajabu, who is now the Member of Parliament for Muheza, denied the claims when responding to inquiries by this newspaper.

“The matter has been sent to PAC,” Ambassador Rajabu told the ‘Daily News’ in a brief short message service (SMS).

On Tuesday last week, PAC ordered the police force to present the contract before the committee in a week’s time, which was supposed to be last Monday.

Through the contract, Lugumi Enterprises was to fix the bio-metric devices at all district police stations in the country at a total cost of 34bn/-, excluding value added tax (VAT) of 3bn/-.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Judge (Major General) Projest Rwegasira, and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ernest Mangu as well as high-ranking officials of the police appeared before the parliamentary committee last week.

Mr Hilaly told journalists then that audited financial report by the CAG for fiscal year 2013/2014 indicate that the Force paid 99 per cent of the amount but the contractor had failed to implement the project.

The excuse by the contractor for not fulfilling the deal, according to the PAC Chairman, was that the national fibre optic cable had not been spread out all over the country to allow the technology to work.

At the same occasion, the PAC instructed the police to conduct joint verification with the CAG and the Chief Government Valuer on property confiscated by the law enforcement organ.

/Daily News.

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