Tanzania suspends officials over national ID card project

John Magufuli

John Magufuli

DAR ES SALAAM — Tanzanian President John Magufuli suspended the head of a national electronic identification-card project and four other officials on Monday, opening the way for a corruption investigation into a public procurement process.

Magufuli, who took office late last year, has pledged to root out corruption and inefficiency in Tanzania. He has already sacked several senior officials, including the head of the government’s anti-graft body, a senior rail official and the head of the country’s port authority.

On Monday, the president said he had suspended the director general of the National Identification Authority (NIDA), Dickson Maimu, and other officials of the authority pending a graft investigation and an audit of the 179.6 billion-shilling ($82.20 million) that NIDA has so far spent on the project.

“The president has also instructed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau to investigate if there was any corruption involved,” his office said in a statement.

Maimu could not immediately be reached for comment. Tanzania is one of Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipients, but payments have been repeatedly delayed because donors were concerned about corruption, poor governance and the slow pace of reforms.

In 2014, a group of donors withheld nearly $500 million in budget support to Tanzania over corruption allegations in the energy industry after a scandal led to the resignations of three cabinet ministers. — Reuters

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