TRANSPORT Minister Harrison Mwakyembe ordered immediate removal of 13 officials from the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), accusing them of harassing foreigners and demanding bribe.
The move comes following an outcry by visitors from China, India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) who claim that some officers at the country’s busiest airport are a nuisance.
“We have retained written evidence and CCTV camera footage as proof of their illegal acts,” charged Dr Mwakyembe while addressing members of the press at his office.
He said officers involved are from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Security and Cooperatives, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.
“I am ordering all the 13 officials to vacate the airport premises as from 12 noon today (yesterday) and return to their respective ministries for disciplinary action,” directed the minister.
Dr Mwakyembe said visitors have been claiming that the officials have been taking their food products and medicines, which are handed back to them once they give them money.
The officials have also been asking travellers to hand their passports, expecting to see 50 to 100 dollars placed inside, confiscating the passports on finding nothing inside,” explained Dr Mwakyembe.
He said that the malpractices by such unscrupulous officials put the country to great disrepute among foreigners and other travelling public..
Dr Mwakyembe named the officials attached to the airport from the Agriculture Ministry as Teddy Mwasenga, Esther Kilonzo, Rehema Mrutu, Mary Kadokayosi, Kisamo Samji and Anneth Kiliyanga.
Others are Agness Shirima, Hamis Bora, Valeri Chuwa, Elingera Mghase and Remedius Kakulu from the health ministry as well as Eshi Ndosi and Anne Setebe from the Livestock Ministry.
“I would like to warn the remaining officials and all those who will replace the persons removed against repetition of the offence, that serious measures will be taken towards the responsible parties,’’ Dr Mwakyembe said, adding that the officials stationed at airports should respect the sanctity of the facility and avoid indulging in such unwarranted acts.
He noted that they should all remember that they are the country’s ambassadors while they are there.
Dr Mwakyembe reminded airport officials to put on appropriate uniforms while at work stations or reflectors for those who don’t have official dress.
“All those who do not want to wear uniforms should make sure that they don’t set their foot in the premises,” Dr Mwakyembe demanded.