World News

Tanzanian president sacks anti-graft chief

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday dismissed the head of the government’s anti-graft body for failing to tackle high-level corruption in east Africa’s second-biggest economy, Magufuli’s office said.

Tanzania's President elect John Pombe Magufuli addresses members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi Party (CCM) at the party's sub-head office on Lumumba road in Dar es Salaam, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman

Magufuli sacked Edward Hoseah, the long-serving director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), due to the slow pace of the fight against graft.

Hoseah has led the government’s anti-graft watchdog for the past nine years and previously served as its director of investigations for almost a decade.

“The president ... is not satisfied with the manner in which this institution (PCCB) has been carrying out its duties to tackle corruption,” the president’s office said in a statement.

The president has also suspended four other senior officials of the PCCB for defying the government’s ban on foreign travel by public officials as part of austerity measures.

Magufuli launched a campaign to root out corruption and inefficiency in Tanzania since his inauguration last month and has already sacked several senior officials as a sign of his determination to fight graft.

Businesses have long complained that corruption is one of the main reasons for the high cost of doing business in Tanzania.

The sacking comes barely a week after Magufuli dismissed the head of Tanzania’s ports authority and the top official in the transport ministry over graft and tax evasion allegations.

Last month, Tanzanian authorities suspended six tax officials including the head of the revenue authority, pending an investigation into claims of graft and tax evasion.

“The port and the tax authority are some of the areas where the government loses a significant amount of revenue ... the president is saddened that corruption was left unchecked at these areas for such a long time,” the presidency said.

The PCCB has long been criticised for failing to prosecute high-level corruption cases and Western donors have in the past suspended aid due to the slow pace in the fight against graft.

The president’s office said the dismissal of the PCCB chief came after two surprise visits to Tanzania’s main port of Dar es Salaam by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Police are investigating the disappearance of over 2,700 shipping containers from inland container depots that serve the port that were cleared without relevant taxes being paid.

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa and Jon Boyle