Tanzania’s Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda yesterday became the first senior government official to publicly declare his assets as part of an anti-corruption drive.
The government, which admits a third of its annual budget is stolen through bribery and corruption, has been criticised by donors who fund 33% of the east African country’s spending for failing to curb graft.
“I have three small houses, have no shares in any company and do not even own a private car apart from the one loaned to me as a member of parliament,” Pinda told a news conference, adding he had less than $20 000 in cash in his bank accounts.
Rising concern over the government’s weak governance, economic policy and its failure to keep to agreements has prompted donors to give out less than they had pledged for the past few years.
The Netherlands is withholding €30 million in general budget support this financial year.
Tanzania’s ethics legislation requires cabinet ministers, members of parliament and senior bureaucrats to declare their income and property holdings each year.
But the Public Leaders’ Ethics Secretariat said only 23% of government officials in Tanzania declared their assets to the body in 2009 by the annual December 31 deadline.
While Tanzania’s stability in a sometimes turbulent region has appealed to donors keen to spend in past years, the country has seen its ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, a measure of perceived public sector corruption, plunge 32 places over the past two years.
President Jakaya Kikwete, who faces a presidential election this year, has placed fighting graft, especially in public procurement, among his top priorities.
Earlier last year, he said 578 graft cases were before Tanzanian courts, up from just 50 four years ago, 27 of them involving individuals implicated in grand corruption.
Pic: Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda of Tanzania