In Summary
– The firm that received the exemptions was a subsidiary of UK-based Alex Stewart International.
– Relatives wept as the sentence was read out in court in Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam.

Two Tanzanian former finance ministers were jailed for three years on Monday over corruption charges for issuing illegal tax exemptions costing the government millions of dollars in lost revenues.

The convictions of former Finance Minister Basil Mramba and former Energy and Minerals Minister Daniel Yona represent two of the most high-profile convictions in the government’s anti-graft drive. Lawyers said the ex-ministers would appeal.

Basil Mramba, 75, and Daniel Yona, 74, both from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, were in government when they issued the tax exemptions between 2002 and 2004.

“The accused acted arbitrarily in granting tax exemptions to a gold audit firm, totally disregarding advice by taxation and legal authorities,” the judgement read.
Former Finance Ministry permanent secretary Gray Mgonja, who was jointly charged with the former ministers, was acquitted by the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam.

Court documents showed the ex-ministers were accused of abusing their authority in 2002 by “arbitrarily” awarding a contract to audit gold production from Tanzania, Africa’s fourth biggest producer. The court also convicted Mramba, 75, and Yona, 76, of illegally extending an audit contract for two years after its expiry in 2005, disregarding a team set up to review the deal.

Former Tanzanian cabinet ministers Basil Mramba and Daniel Yona

Former Tanzanian cabinet ministers Basil Mramba and Daniel Yona

The firm that received the exemptions was a subsidiary of UK-based Alex Stewart International. Relatives wept as the sentence was read out in court in Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam.

Mramba was also convicted of using his position as finance minister to unlawfully exempt a local subsidiary of the auditor of paying 11.75 billion Tanzanian shillings ($5.3 million) in government taxes.

The East African nation is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali.

Businesses have long complained that graft is a major reason for the high cost of doing business in several East African Nations. we are having knowledge of several projects with thousands of jobs, failing to materializes because of corruption in several East African countries, where MP’s, Ministers or others have asked for money to finalize approvals and the investors is saying no and leaving the countries, and in this way the countries are loosing millions of USD in investments and Tax revenues, that could have helped develop the nations,because of some few people’s greed.

Only way this will change is if the population of the East African nations say stop and keep protesting against corruption, fraud, no matter if it is about a hiked fare in the Matatu’s, a business man’s blackmail, or corruption in companies and governments.