Tanzanian gov't to confiscate assets of officials implicated in diamond fraud

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-09 21:49:38|Editor: Zhou Xin
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DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Minister of Finance and Planning Philip Mpango on Saturday ordered confiscation of assets belonging to officials implicated in the diamonds mining fraud chain that he said has caused huge loss to the east African nation.

Speaking shortly before he was shown diamonds seized last week at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, Mpango said: "All the assets belonging to officials in the diamond mining business should be confiscated forthwith."

The seizure of the diamonds was made a few days before two reports by Tanzanian parliamentary investigative committees on diamonds and tanzanite mining revealed massive corruption, secrecy, cheating, tax evasion and negligence by government officials.

The reports were presented to President John Magufuli on Thursday by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Mpango directed security organs to conduct massive investigations on all current and former officials who worked in the diamond mining and exports chain except those who had died.

"Tanzanians should get back their stolen resources," said the minister, adding that the investigations should focus on Tanzania Revenue Authority officials, security organs and minerals assessors.

Mpango said the actual amount of diamonds seized at the airport were 29.6 kilograms but it was earlier valued that the diamonds weighed 14.3kg only which was equivalent to 71,840.3 carats.

On Friday, Tanzanian police said they have started investigating senior officials implicated in the two reports by parliamentary investigative committees on diamonds and tanzanite mining.

"After President John Magufuli instructed defense 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 Simon Sirro.

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

Following the order, the 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.