Finance minister Saada Mkuya has finally broken silence on the whereabouts of $300 million (Sh480 billion) reportedly went missing at the Treasury.
Ms Mkuya said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that not a single cent was lost or stolen as it was claimed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by Kigoma North legislator Zitto Kabwe.
“It isn’t true that the said billions were pocketed by unscrupulous officials in the Treasury. In fact we were highly shocked by reports in the media that the whereabouts of the money were not known,’’ she said.
In a letter of January 27 , signed by the PAC chairman, the committee claimed that the sum allocated over two financial years (2012/13 and 2013/14) had been spent but not accounted for.
“The issue of unaccounted for billions from the Treasury was raised in my consultations with some development partners,” Mr Kabwe wrote. “They call it a ‘discrepancy’ but a thorough audit should be conducted by your office,” read part of the letter sent to the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).
It was, however, unclear whether the $300 million unaccounted for was from local revenue sources or from donors, who injected Sh842 billion into the general budget support in the 2012/13 financial year.
The CAG’s audit reports have highlighted billions of mismanaged public funds annually in ministries and local authorities.
The PAC is concerned about “discrepancies” in the use of financial resources at a time when the government cannot fund its own budget.
The government also has had budget deficits. Tanzania’s total budget for 2013/14 is Sh18.2 trillion.
Ms Mkuya was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to sign an agreement between the government and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Under the deal, the European bank will grant euros 105 million to improve the provision of clean water and sanitation services.
EIB vice president Pim van Ballekom said the money would be spent on a water infrastructure project around the southern shores of Lake Victoria.
After signing the agreement The Citizen wanted to know if the money would be properly handled following allegations of the misappropriation of $300 million that caused public uproar and the ministry kept mum.
Ms Mkuya said that there were only discrepancies and the ministry had settled them.
“International Monetary Fund officials have commended us for the good job,” she said. “The public should know that those allegations had no iota of truth.’’
According to the Bank of Tanzania’s economic reports for the first four months of 2013/14, the government recorded an overall deficit of Sh846.9 billion and it had to borrow from both domestic and foreign sources.
The government had collected revenue of Sh2.96 trillion, or 83.5 per cent of the target for the period between July and October, with tax revenue accounting for 94.7 per cent of total revenue.
Aid from donors received during the period amounted to Sh703.7 billion against Sh1.05 trillion projected for the period.