PCCB, TRA probe NSSF project

CONTROVERSIES shroud the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)’s joint venture with Azimio Housing Estate on the development of Kigamboni’s 20,000 acres, with separate investigations launched to uncover serious irregularities.

The Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) have both embarked on the separate extraordinary investigations on the mega project.

NSSF Board of Trustees Chairman Samwel Wangwe told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here yesterday that according to NSSF thorough assessment, the 653 million US dollar (over 1.3trn/-) project was marred by serious irregularities.

In the partnership to development, the Kigamboni Satellite City, Azimio Housing Estates was responsible for the development of 20,000 acres in Kigamboni, with the first phase covering 300 acres. NSSF controls 45 per cent stake in the project, with Azimio holding the remaining 55 per cent.

Under the terms of capital sharing, NSSF had to fund 45 per cent of the 1.3trn/- while Azimio was committed to fund 35 per cent cash plus the land value that was estimated at 20 per cent.

Prof Wangwe said NSSF injected in the project 129 million dollars (about 270bn/-) while Azimio provided 5.5 million dollars (over 11bn/-). During the parliamentary committee session, Members of Parliament (MPs) questioned the rationale of the majority shareholder injecting in the project less funds than the minority counterpart.

The project stalled since February, this year, due to serious financial hiccups that faced Azimio Housing Estate.

“The company requested for a loan from NSSF, but the request was declined because they no longer qualify for any loan from NSSF,’’ said NSSF Director General (DG), Professor Godius Kahyarara. He said NSSF is currently negotiating with Azimio to review the contract as PCCB and TRA continue investigating how the contract was sealed

. Prof Kahyarara said NSSF was also struggling to recover the 270bn/- that was injected in the project. “We want to have that money recovered even if we will not get any interest, because in this project, Azimio Housing Estate has majority shareholding that doesn’t bring any value,’’ he said.

Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report for the financial year ending June 2015, indicated that Azimio Housing Estates owns two plots with title deeds numbers 81828 and 105091 for lands located at RasiDege, measuring 1.98 and 114.11 hectares, respectively.

Azimio Housing had, however, transferred the title deeds to Hifadhi Builders during the first phase of the project. “I have not been availed with title deeds for Azimio Housing Estates contribution ... this makes it difficult to substantiate existence of the plots. And in the absence of title deeds, ownership of 19,700 acres being 20 per cent contribution by Azimio Housing cannot be substantiated.

NSSF money therefore might be subjected to risk,’’ said the CAG. According to Professor Wangwe, valuation in the contract indicated that one acre was valued at 800m/- but a fresh valuation by NSSF found out that the acre was valued a mere 25m/-.

“This revelation alone is enough to nullify the contract,’’ he said, adding that if disbanding the contract is anything to go by, NSSF would be keen to observe any serious legal implications. In what appears to be another anomaly, the contract indicates that the acres to be developed were 20,000 but after NSSF’s evaluation, it was found out the actual acres were 3,503. According to NSSF DG, officials who were involved have already been suspended pending investigations by PCCB and TRA.

Appropriate legal actions await all individuals who will be implicated in the dirty deal. Msalala MP Ezekiel Maige (CCM) proposed an immediate contract termination, describing the project as fraudulent. “Why should we keep on negotiating while it is obvious that this project is purely fraudulent,’’ queried the MP.

PAC Chairperson Naghenjwa Kaboyoka advised NSSF to keenly review the contract as Azimio Housing Estate was the custodian of the land. “The company may decide to have the houses demolished so that it can retain its land.’’

But, Professor Kahyarara assured keenness to ensure recovery of the 270bn/-, saying the contractual issues will be cautiously handled from the legal perspective. In another development, NSSF has suspended issuance of loans to Savings and Credits Cooperative Societies, pending ongoing investigations.

PCCB, TRA probe NSSF project PCCB, TRA probe NSSF project Reviewed by on 11:48:00 PM Rating: 5

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