JPM irked by bribes, deceit in Bagamoyo port project

08Jun 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
JPM irked by bribes, deceit in Bagamoyo port project

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday revealed why his government foiled the much-touted new Bagamoyo port project, saying it was a looters’ den shrouded in grand corruption and its terms were not for the benefit of the country.

President John Magufuli addresses members of the business community from districts across the country as well as Tanzania National Business Council members at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Photo: State House

Speaking to businesspeople from across the country at the State House in Dar es Salaam, the Head of State said the majority of supposed Bagamoyo residents who were paid billions in compensation were tricksters based in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

The president’s statement ended the debate on the much awaited project whose foundation stone was laid by former president Jakaya Kikwete in 2015.

“We cannot allow a project with such terms. I know there was compensation which was paid but if you follow up, you will find that those who received the money were not Bagamoyo residents. They were all from Dar es Salaam,” he said.

According to the president the project terms require that the government should not develop any of its other ports and should not have a say in its operations for 99 years.

Expressing his sentiments, the Head of State said the government was investing a lot of money in various ports such as Mtwara and Tanga to open up the country,so it was ridiculous for an investor to bring up such terms.

“We have worked very hard as a country to let the Tanzania-Uganda oil pipeline pass through the country and that is the main reason why we are expanding the port of Tanga to ensure that the entire product goes through that channel,” he said.

Last month, the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai asked the government to explain why the construction of the Bagamoyo mega port in Coast Region was stalled despite signing an accord with a Chinese contractor.

The Bagamoyo project framework agreement was signed on March 24, 2013 with intent to enhance competition along the East African coast and supplement the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.

Ndugai was forced to seek explanation from the government after several MPs queried stalling of the multibillion dollar project.

The project, which was well pronounced during the final years of former President Kikwete, was initially signed in 2013 during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Since then, there has been a change of focus with most efforts being directed towards rehabilitation of ports of the other three coastal ports.