Tanzania’s anti-corruption watchdog yesterday suspended nine senior staff, including architects, construction managers and quantity surveyors, over claims of corruption related to construction of the agency’s seven district buildings.
John Mbungo, director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), said the staff were involved in procurement and evaluation of the buildings, newspaper The Citizen reports.
The move came a day after Tanzanian President John Magufuli (pictured) publicly opined that his government had paid too much for the PCCB building the president himself was inaugurating that day in the capital, Dodoma.
The modest, single-storey office is thought to have cost 148 million shillings (about $64,000), which the president believed was too much.
"I asked the prime minister and he said maybe it could cost about 60 million, but in my own view this could be even less than that," Magufuli said.
Magufuli, who has a doctorate in chemistry and served as Tanzania’s minister of works before being elected president, has a history of questioning construction costs.
In 2017 he complained about the cost of the new Terminal Three project at Julius Nyerere International Airport, and the same year he fired two senior municipal officials after they could not give figures for their road construction budgets on television. (See further reading.)
PCCB boss Mbungo said he had set up a team to find out the exact cost of the new buildings.
According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, Mbungo said he had also disbanded the PCCB’s estate management unit, and would form a new one.
Xinhua said the investigation would be carried out by a four-member team from the Contractors Registration Board, the Tanzania Building Agency and Suma Construction Company, a unit of the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces.
Their work begins on 27 July.
Image: Tanzanian President John Magufuli marking the start of a railway scheme in 2018 (From the Twitter account of President John Magufuli)