The Parliamentary Local Authority Accounts Committee yesterday urged the government to use the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) reports as evidence in courts to pin down civil servants who steal public funds with impunity.
Tabling his committee’s report for the year 2009/2010, the LAAC chairman, Dr Augustine Lyatonga Mrema recommended the action against those who have embezzled public funds in councils instead of the usual tradition of investigating the cases through the Director of Criminal Investigation, then the Director of Public Prosecution or the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).
He said all the said public institutions were taking too long to probe such cases while the report of the CAG had all the necessary evidence that the suspects had committed the offences.
“You know there is this tradition of saying ‘we are still investigating the case,’. Then it takes five years, when it goes to the DPP and when you call in the PCCB the case will again take five years. The suspected officer is all this time still employed, embezzling public funds,” said Mrema, adding: “I think let’s start using the CAG report to corner these people.”
He said the government has developed a tendency of not taking measures against dishonest official who have been embezzling public funds and properties.
“My committee proved during visits to various councils that the government has been transferring corrupt suspects to various work stations in the local government or the central government instead of taking legal measures against them,” said Mrema.
He cited the case of a suspect who after being accused of misusing funds in Kilosa district has been transferred to Lindi.
Another suspect, according to the Controller and Auditor General Report has been transferred to Babati District after being linked to loss of funds in Kishapu District. Two other officials from Kishapu District were transferred to Rombo District in Kilimanjaro Region and Ngara District in Kagera Rgion.
The committee chairman said they were told that the transfers were effected to allow investigations against them.
But Mrema faulted the move, saying the transfer only helped to spread corruption and embezzlement to the whole country instead of controlling it.
The committee wanted the government to provide explanations why it has been transferring suspects of corruption and thieves to other council.
“We want to know why the government is not taking measure against such officers and is instead transferring them to continue stealing in other councils,” he said.
“There has been a tendency for the government not to respond to what the committees are saying. This time we want to hear from the government,” stressed Mrema.