A Member of Parliament for Kawe, Halima Mdee (Chadema) yesterday demanded the government to disclose the number and actions taken on government officials alleged to deposit public funds in a pyramid scheme known as Development and Entrepreneurship for Community Initiative whose operations were halted three years ago.
Mdee said that when the government halted the operations of the “sow and reap” scheme three years ago former Finance Minister Mustafa Mkulo admitted that there were some government officials involved in the saga by sowing public funds in the pyramid scheme with intent to returning the funds after ‘harvesting.’
“According to reports, the case which is still pending in court involves five Pentecostal Church clerics…I want the government to tell us how many government officials have been held accountable in relation to sowing public funds in the scheme,” the MP asserted.
Responding, Finance Deputy Minister Janeth Mbene said that she had no reports that there were government officials involved in the saga, noting that if there was any such official actions will be taken in future as at present the matter was still in court.
In her basic question Mdee sought to know the amount of money the government had recovered from DECI and where the money was deposited.
The lawmaker also wanted to know what plans the government had in relation to the money and the fate of Tanzanians who sowed their money expecting that they would reap.
Mdee said that the government had taken three years to establish whether the accused have a case to answer, in which case it was better for the government to set a time frame for hearing and judgment of the case.
The Deputy Minister said that the government succeeded to rescue 14.81b/- out of 39.27b/- sown by DECI members.
The money was still in accounts of DECI directors which were seized in different banks in the country, he said, elaborating that the fate of the money will depend on the judgment of the case filed at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in 2009.
Mbene said that court will give its ruling on July 17 this year whether the accused have case to answer or not.
In 2009 the government halted operations of DECI and seized all the money in its accounts.
It however filed a case at the Kisutu resident magistrate’s court against five pastors of the Pentecostal Church for operating an illegal pyramid scheme.
The pastors from different Pentecostal churches based in Dar es Salaam are Jackson Mtares, Dominick Kigendi, Timotheo ole Loiting’ye, Samuel Mtares and Arbogast Francis.