Friday, 17 October 2014

CAG wants more time to wind up IPTL audit

CAG wants more time to wind up IPTL audit

“But, the pending witness’s input won’t change the content of the report we are waiting for; his evidence is just part of the procedure to give the second party a chance to be heard...” Mr Zitto Kabwe, PAC Chairman 

In Summary
  • The auditors expression of need for “extra time” comes amidst mounting pressure from the public and donor community keen to know the outcome of the said investigations on controversial sale of IPTL
Dar es Salaam. The National Audit Office yesterday said it needs more time to complete investigations into the controversial sale of Independent Power Tanzania (IPTL) that led to the questionable withdrawal of Sh201 billion from an escrow account at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
This said need for extra time comes amidst mounting pressure from the public and donor community keen to know the outcome of the said investigations.
But the CAG office didn’t specify the amount of time it needs to wind up the matter.
However, Kigoma North MP, Mr Zitto Kabwe, who is also the Public Account Committee chair, who was the first to order the CAG to investigate the matter in April, said he was aware there was a witness from Oman who is expected to testify anytime this month.
Reacting to the CAG statement, Mr Kabwe said: “It’s true the CAG office has not completed its audit. For there’s a witness being awaited.”
Mr Kabwe, however, added: “But, the witness won’t change the content of the report; his evidence is just part of the procedure to give the second party a chance to be heard... the CAG report will be tabled and debated in Parliament in November.”
He further told The Citizen that the PAC was prepared to receive the report and work on it before tabling it in the august House since it is authority that ordered the investigation and therefore it has the mandate to determine when the CAG report on the matter should be tabled.
“In case there’ll be any delay or fishy move, PAC will go public and expose what’s going on,” he said.
The investigations were called by the Parliament and ministry of Energy and Minerals earlier this year after a protracted House debate that saw MPs from both Opposition and ruling party join forces in pressuring the government to elaborate the matter.
The investigation on Tegeta escrow account at BoT  is conducted based on the terms of references set by the Parliament and the Energy ministry. But according to the statement, the terms alone could not show the magnitude of the workload, and it has transpired that the task was more demanding than anticipated.   
It is understood that the then head of agency Mr Ludovick Utouh, back in March, requested 45 days for the job.
“The need to get concrete information has necessitated more time. We need information from key individuals from government institutions, public institutions, and private sector within the country and abroad,” reads the statement in part.

The statement, however, notes that investigations on track and only a few areas haven’t been sorted out. The President is yet to appoint a successor to Mr Utouh.
In addition to the terms of reference, the statement says the investigations are being conducted in accordance with Section 29 of The Public Audit Act, 2008, which empowers the CAG to undertake any other type of audit as he may deem fit.
Chapter 2 of the Section that empowers the CAG, on request by any person, institution, public authorities, ministries, departments, agencies, local government authorities and such other bodies to undertake any special audit, was applied in IPTL saga and it was the Parliament and Ministry of Energy and Minerals that requested the audit.
The law outlines three specific types of audit which are Regularity Audit, Forensic Audit and Performance Audit.
In quick response to the National Audit Office’s statement, Kigoma South MP David Kafulila who has been on the frontline in the IPTL saga, said he would table a private motion in Parliament over the matter.
“The statement proves that there is something fishy going on—back in March 20, the CAG asked for 45 days but more than 200 days have passed and we are still being told they need more time without being specific,” he said.
Last week, the donor community under the umbrella of Development Partners (DPs) confirmed to The Citizen that  they are withholding funds meant to support the 2014/15 Budget pending the release of  two probe reports (one of them the CAG’s) on the $250 million in escrow monies.

2015 Africa Cup of Nations: Caf sounds out alternative host options

2015 Africa Cup of Nations: Caf sounds out alternative host optionsAn Ivory Coast fan holds up a "Stop Ebola" placard

The Confederation of African Football has approached Ghana and South Africa about hosting the 2015 Nations Cup.
Last week, scheduled hosts Morocco asked Caf to postpone the January tournament because of fears over Ebola.
"Caf wrote to us and indicated that Morocco had given strong indications they would pull out if Caf did not change the date," Ghana Youth and Sports minister Mahama Ayariga said.
South Africa have been sent a similar letter, seen by BBC Sport.
Caf has stated there are no changes to the schedule of next year's tournament and it would discuss the Moroccan health ministry's request on 2 November before meeting Moroccan officials the following day.
Speaking in an interview with Ghanaian radio station Citi FM, Ayariga added: "Caf also indicated that it was firm on the tournament dates but they will meet the Moroccan authorities and take a decision at that meeting.

How the Ebola outbreak has affected African football

Sierra Leone has suspended all football matches in the county
Caf has placed bans on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone hosting any international football
Seychelles forfeited their Nations Cup qualifier rather than host Sierra Leone
"But in the meantime they are writing to a number of countries that they think have the capacity to be an alternative venue… in the event of Morocco actually pulling out."
Almost 4,500 people have died in the Ebola epidemic that broke out in west Africa at the start of the year.
While Moroccan youth and sports minister Mohamed Ouzzine said on Thursday his country had not withdrawn as hosts, he reiterated that they will follow the lead of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has advised against big gatherings in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
"Our concern is the health of Africa, and based on WHO reports and guidelines, we have to listen," Ouzzine said.
"Zero safety does not exist, but one has to take the necessary precautions so that the coming tournament will be a football feast, bringing together our African brothers, but given the current Ebola situation we don't think such a feast can take place as expected.
Nigeria fans have their temperature taken

Nigeria fans have their temperature taken before last month's Nations Cup qualifier against visitors Congo
"We are talking about the Africa Cup of Nations where we are expecting between 200,000 to 400,000, even one million spectators to converge in Morocco.
"I don't think there is any state or any country that has the necessary capabilities to monitor, check and control the current Ebola situation when faced with these numbers.
"This is our real problem. We don't have a problem with visiting teams, we have a problem with visitors."
Ouzzine believes the situation is critical and pleaded for a decision to be taken for humanitarian rather than financial reasons.
"If there are fears about the loss of funding and financial commitments, we can always find solutions to these issues - but today is not the day to discuss these things," he said.
"We will discuss these things when we meet with Caf - and we might even debate other options. But I beg you, what's the significance of the financial losses compared to human losses? A human being is priceless.
"I can tell you that we will reach a definite decision during our meeting with our brothers from Caf."

7 Ethiopians arrested and charged with illegal entry

7 Ethiopians arrested and charged with illegal entry

By Lauden Mwambona, The Citizen Correspondent
In Summary
Regional police commander Ahmed Msangi said the immigrants were arrested at Busale Village in a forest nearby Kiwira Coal Mine where they’re hiding.

Mbeya. Police in Kyela District are holding seven Ethiopians over allegations of illegal immigration.
Regional police commander Ahmed Msangi said the immigrants were arrested at Busale Village in a forest nearby Kiwira Coal Mine where they’re hiding.
“After questioning them, we realised that they were Ethiopians who illegally crossed the border into our country…we have already handed them to the Immigration Department for further steps,” said Mr Msangi.
Mr Msangi, however, urged residents of Mbeya Region to cooperate with law organs in identifying illegal immigrants who were threatening their well-being.
Meanwhile, two people are under police custody for allegedly possessing fake bank notes.
The Mbeya RPC said the suspects whose names are being withheld, are residents of Ilemi and Kagera areas in the city. “The suspects were caught at Uyole in their attempt to distribute the fake bank notes,” he noted.
In another development, police in Mbeya have warned consumers of illicit liquor and drugs, whose number is on the rise in the region to immediately stop before tough penalties are imposed on them.
“Our statistics indicate that the number of people consuming illicit liquor and other illegal drugs is on the rise in the region,” he said.
He reiterated, “We will, therefore, intensify our search for them to ensure that they are all brought before the law for the violation of state laws.”

Open up to free movement, regional leaders urged

By  Edwin Mutai,The Citizen Correspondent
In Summary
  • NEED TO ENSURE SECURITY: East African Community member states are putting together a joint force that can be deployed to intervene in any situation in the community together, considering that insecurity in Kenya, for instance, has a contagion effect on the rest of the community. The Summit also called for greater partnership between government and private sector players in addressing challenges in health, education and talent development and mineral management.
Kigali. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda have challenged East African Community member states to speed up reforms to allow free movement of labour across the region. The two leaders said continued fears that opening up domestic job markets to regional job seekers would erode opportunities for nationals were “unfounded”.
Speaking at the opening of the sixth East African Business Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the two presidents said political will is required to fully integrate the region.
In a question-and-answer session with top business exectives from the region that was moderated by Kenya Commercial Bank Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara, Mr Kenyatta said: “Let us be frank with each other, we have not been able to move fast because of national fears, a sense of insecurity that if one opens up their people will be denied jobs and other opportunities.
“We must deal with these fears. We need to start talking about our people being East African people. Kenya and Rwanda have made progress on this. We have been clear on opening up our labour market to take full advantage of the labour that is available in the region.”
Besides allowing EAC citizens to work in the country and set up businesses, Mr Kagame said, Rwanda’s bold steps in opening up are demonstrating the opportunities of a free labour market. He added: “Increasing trade is not only the result of exporting raw materials but also value addition. To the rest of the rest of the world, we sell raw and unprocessed materials. This is primitive in the same way people are looking at not allowing free movement of the labour market.”  He spoke of unwarranted fears but added that Rwanda had confronted this challenge. “When we opened our borders and removed restrictions on work permits and visas, everyone benefited...we have benefited,” he added. “Some Rwandans had worries but it is about leaders making decisions and involving the people.”
Trade between Kenya and Rwanda has grown from $44.8 million in 2001 to $160 million by 2011--two years after the country was admitted to the EAC together with Burundi. Capital and labour flows between the two countries have continued to grow after both governments removed restrictions on work permits. “If Rwanda doesn’t have to worry about Kenya, why should other and bigger countries worry about Kenya?” President Kagame asked.
President Kenyatta, the current chair of the rotational EAC Heads of States Summit, applauded the “brave” move by his predecessor, President Mwai Kibaki, and Mr Kagame, to allow free movement of labour between the two countries. He added: “I don’t think Kenya and Rwanda are worse off with that position. I believe we are better off. Young people now move freely. I am told a lot of Kenyans now came through Kigali airport using just IDs. The United States was built [by] tapping the talent of the world. We need to end the inward-looking mentality that we inherited from our colonial masters. Let us not be fearful of one another.”
Kenya has the lowest number of visitors to Rwanda from among the EAC member states but the figure doubled between 2009 and 2012--from 33,168 visitors to 63,222, according to statistics from the Rwanda immigration authorities.
Need for speed
The two presidents told business leaders that they remain committed to investing in energy and transport infrastructure to reduce the cost of doing business in East Africa.
Mr Kagame, Mr Kenyatta and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda have been at the heart of rapid investment in key projects along the northern corridor and in the rest of the region, including the new standard gauge railway, refurbishment of Mombasa Port, and the proposed oil pipelines and refineries from Uganda to the Indian Ocean coast.



Government officials trained on oil, gas contracts

By Patty Magubira, The Citizen Reporter

Posted  Thursday, October 16  2014 at  10:38
In Summary
The acting director for the Contracts Division in the AGC, Mr Yohane Masara, said the training for about 20 civil servants from different sectors was tailor-made for deals on Liquidified Natural Gas.
Arusha. The Attorney General Chambers (AGC) has in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) organised a week long training in contracts negotiations.
The acting director for the Contracts Division in the AGC, Mr Yohane Masara, said the training for about 20 civil servants from different sectors was tailor-made for deals on Liquidified Natural Gas.
He said the training was compounded by the increasing number of negotiations pertaining to minerals, particularly the emerging oil and gas sub-sector.
The civil servants have been drawn from the AGC Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority.
Others are from Tanzania Revenue Authority, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, and the Prime Minister’s Office. Government officials have often come under attack for negotiating shoddy deals that have many times not sat well with the public and embarrassed the state.
Mr Masara said three seasoned lawyers from K & L Gates in the US, the UK, and Australia were invited to drill the civil servants.
With the largest network of offices worldwide, K & L Gates practices law on an integrated basis and is recognised as a leader in the private equity, hedge fund, venture capital, consumer mortgage finance, AIM listing, outsourcing, and Employee Stock Ownership Plan areas.
The prime goal of the training is to build the civil servants’ capacity to negotiate energy deals for the country to benefit from the godsend, said Mr Masara, explaining that the resource persons were knowledgable, as they worked in the sector for over 15 years each.
The Energy engineer from MEM, Mr Styden Rwebangira, said the training was part of the Capacity Development in Energy Sector and Extractive Industry Programme.
“The training, intends to prepare the civil servants for the business of gas which has to be packaged for it to be transported to the market,” he explained.
He said the trainers had vast experience, as they had for years been serving as consultants for both investors and governments on how each side can defend its interests in the deals.
They will, among other things, train the multi-sectoral civil servants on several types of contracts for them to select feasible ones.
“We will share experience of lessons from around the world to optimise the greatest value for this country to maximise on what it can reap from the LNG,”one of the resource persons, Mr Steven Sparling, said.
He said the LNG had a potential for generating revenue and reducing tensions pitying communities, investors and the government.
“Best projects are those which find ways of sharing benefits equitably including technologies,” Mr Sparling explained.
His colleague from Australia, Ms Clare Power, said owing to multinationals being well organised with vast experience; governments had to be prepared before going to the negotiation table with them.
“Big companies have a lot of information about the value and economics of the projects in question; they are surrounded by the best expertise in accounts and law.
“Governments come in with a disadvantage, as the parties they negotiate with know much more than they do, explained Ms Power, cautioning the trainees over a trend among most investors to divide them.