In his ongoing war on corruption, Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, has relieved the country’s mining minister, Sospter Muhongo, of his duties for helping gold producer, Acacia, and other mining companies, evade tax payments on mineral exports.
The Minister has been fingered after results of an audit of containers carrying ore, which were released on Wednesday, indicated that the actual quantities of exports had been understated.
The chief executive of Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency, Dominic Rwekaza, has also been relieved of his duties, for being complicit in the corrupt acts.
Commenting on the probe, Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, said that the probe revealed the tendency of understating the amount of mineral sands exports. The country lost millions of dollars in potential minerals as a result of this.
Meanwhile, further investigations, whose findings are likely to nab more cultprits, are ongoing.
Rare in Africa
Firing ministers is very rare in African countries, where leaders tend to have more allegiance to patronage than serving public interests, and corruption is almost state-sanctioned.
A case in point is in South Africa, where mining minister, Musebenzi Zwane, is alleged to have helped a Optimum Coal, mining company belonging to the country’s President Jacob Zuma’s controversial associates, the Gupta brothers, waive an environmental compliance provision for their coal mining company, Optimum Coal . Without following due processes governing tender, Optimum said to have secured a lucrative contract to supply coal to state-owned power utility company, Eskom.