Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dar es Salaam

PCCB out to trace culprits in Shs. 303 billions in Swiss accounts

By Mkinga Mkinga

The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s hot shots have stashed away Sh303.7 billion in Swiss banks, according to a report by Swiss National Bank (SNB).This amount of money can run the budget of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries for five years, going by the current exchange rate of Sh1,660 to the Swiss franc. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation would run its affairs for two years. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) is now gearing up to ask Swiss authorities to help trace the money and those who own it. PCCB director-general Edward Hoseah said yesterday that his office has the information and, come Monday, he will have set off the communication with Switzerland.

Dr Hoseah said he will be seeking to establish how the money was deposited in Swiss banks, the people involved and the nature of those transactions. Responding via phone from Arusha, he said he was strategising on how to go about digging up more information on the report.

Other countries whose nationals have stashed away wealth in Switzerland in Swiss francs include Kenya (818 million), Uganda (154 million), Egypt and South Africa (1.914 billion) , the Seychelles (2.515 million), Zimbabwe (96 million), Senegal (150 million), Rwanda (29 million), Sierra Leone (29 million), Somalia (1 million) and Sudan (796 million).

The amounts, described by SNB as “liabilities of Swiss banks towards clients from different countries” do not necessarily project the much-talked-about black money held by Tanzanians in the safe havens of Switzerland.

The total overseas funds in Switzerland’s banking system stood at 1.53 trillion Swiss francs, the report adds. At the same time, global pressure on Switzerland has been mounting, with demands that the country orders its banks to share information about clients with foreign governments.

The anti-corruption chief said Tanzania would need to establish from Switzerland who owns the money and if it is illegally owned and he would consult the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) on the immediate steps to take.

“After we have established where the money originated, we will follow due procedure and make sure the money is returned home,” Dr Hoseah said. “We shall use available laws that guide all nations.” 

Director of Criminal Investigations Robert Manumba declined to comment on the matter, saying he was on leave, and directed this paper to the police spokesperson.

But Assistant Superintendent of Police Advera Senso said the police had not received the report.  She said she would ask investigation partners to send it to her and only then would she be in a position to comment.

Recently, the Bank of Tanzania received over Sh72 billion as compensation for the military radar transaction under a settlement agreement between the government of Tanzania and British Aerospace Defence System Limited. Bank of Tanzania’s twin towers is among the scandals that have cost billions of taxpayers’ money.

Source: The Citizen (Tanzania), Saturday 23rd June 2012

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