Tanzanian police investigate officials implicated in diamond mining scam

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-09 03:44:57|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian police said on Friday they have started investigating senior officials implicated in two reports by parliamentary investigative committees on diamonds and tanzanite mining.

"After President John Magufuli instructed defence and security organs to immediately start investigating all officers implicated in the reports, we have already arrested some of the officials for interrogation," said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro.

Sirro did not mention the number and names of arrested officials for investigative reasons but he said the officials were being probed by the office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Robert Boaz.

But the IGP told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that most of the officials under interrogation were arrested in Manyara region where tanzanite is mined at Mererani.

Sirro said the police in collaboration with other security organs have already formed a special task force to work on the reports.

He appealed to officials implicated in the two reports to voluntarily surrender themselves to the DCI before they were being sought by the police.

On Thursday, President Magufuli also ordered the suspension of senior officials implicated in the two reports.

"The officials mentioned in the two reports should give way pending the investigations," said Magufuli.

The two reports which were presented to the President by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa revealed massive corruption, secrecy, cheating, tax evasion and negligence by government officials causing losses of billions of shillings to the country.

On Thursday Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for Regional Administration and Local Governments, George Simbachawene and Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Edwin Ngonyani, announced they were stepping down to pave way for investigations.

In June, Tanzanian President Magufuli suspended issuance of new mining licenses to investors until after the government reorganizes itself.

He said minerals, including gold, that were being mined in the country were natural resources that belonged to Tanzanians and that his administration would never tolerate seeing a few individuals benefiting from the country's natural resources, leaving majority of Tanzanians swimming in poverty.

In May this year, President Magufuli sacked Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo after a report showed he was implicated in mining firms' undeclared mineral sand exports.

Magufuli said the report revealed that mining firms, including Acacia Mining, cheated over mineral sand exports for smelting abroad, making the east African nation to lose millions of U.S. dollars.

The president also dissolved the Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency Board of Directors and suspended the agency's Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Rwekaza, for what he termed as negligence.