The East African airline was eager to enter the air freight business by purchasing and operating a B767-300 production freighter. Yet, the price of the aircraft suddenly increased by exactly US$49 million. A clear case of corruption committed by government bodies. And not the first in Tanzania.
The huge discrepancy between the original price of the freighter and the book price in the records of the relevant Tanzanian government agencies was discovered by the country's President herself, Ms. Samia Suluhu Hassan. While reviewing the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report 2021/2022, she noticed that the final installment for the aircraft was US$37 million, but that her government was billed US$86 million. A clear attempt to defraud the state.
Embezzlers, pack your bags!
After a short investigation, it became obvious that government internal sources were responsible for the enormous and unjustified price hike of the freighter. Meanwhile, President Hassan lashed out to those involved in the fraud attempt. She stated: “Where did this invoice come from? What did the contract say? And when you received the invoice, you still presented it to the government for payment. Stupid, what step did you take after you received the invoice? When you look at it critically, you will notice that the price hike is something that started internally.” Although she did not name the individuals who were involved in the fraud, she ordered all of them to step down from their positions and to exit government agencies with immediate effect.
“Revision of procurement contracts is needed!”
Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is fully owned and controlled by the state. It is one of 42 government entities making constant losses. According to the 2021/2022 Controller and Auditor General report (CAG), the airline has piled up a debt amount totaling US$1.5 billion. In view of the constant deficits of the national carrier and alarmed by the latest corruption incident concerning the B767F, Speaker Zitto Kabwe of the opposition party, ACT Wazalendo, demanded that “from 2016 onwards, all aircraft procurement contracts should be reviewed in order to improve identified shortfalls.” Chief government spokesperson, Gerson Msigwa told local media that President Hassan has issued directives over the CAG reports. “Government executives have been instructed to thoroughly read the CAG reports and hold accountable those who will be implicated to have roles in the reported incidents of embezzlement,” he stated.
The new B767-300F (Reg.: 5H-TCO) was scheduled for delivery at the end of MAR23, but is now expected to arrive by the end of this month. The aircraft will be based at Kilimanjaro Airport, which the government intends to develop into a strategic hub for cargo operations. The aircraft will enable Air Tanzania to offer the market main deck capacity and increase its international freight activities.
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