Transport minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe addresses ATCL workers at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Mwakyembe’s clarification followed concerns that the decision to revoke the appointment of former ATCL chief, Paul Chizi was unfair, because his efforts to revive the ailing public firm had started to yield some results.
Speaking to ATCL workers yesterday, Mwakyembe said his decision to fire the ATCL boss, came after the latter signed a contract hiring aircraft without government knowledge thus leading to the loss of more than 69bn/- which should be paid by the government.
After revoking Chizi’s appointment, he said, there have been complaints and concerns that the ATCL chief was unfairly removed from the position, noting: “These people did not take initiative to enquire why the government reached such a decision.”
“I heard these concerns and complaints from print and electronic media. The problem with us, Tanzanians, is that we complain without making research…any way, these are just propaganda which cannot hold me back,” he noted.
Giving details on the controversies surrounding questionable aircraft-hiring deal, Dr Mwakyembe said before his appointment to the new post, he heard media reports saying ATCL had hired new airplane, Boeing 737.
When he assumed office, he called the Permanent Secretary Omari Chambo and asked him to give details of the plane hiring deal. “But the PS said he had no information about the aircraft.”
“The Attorney General had no information about the aircraft-hiring contract…even the transport ministry got the contract from a private individual and not from the ATCL management,” he said.
After being informed about controversies which surrounded the deal, he summoned the ATCL management to his office, who he said arrived at 10.30 am instead of agreed time 9: 00 am, attributing the delay to certain management problems.
He described the airline-hire contract ATCL signed with Airbus as “bogus…it could be more bogus than the Richmond deal. I have never seen such a bogus contract in my life. The contract caused loss of tax-payers money (combined maintenance costs plus interest),” he said.
The minister disclosed factors which forced him to sack ATCL chief and suspend the entire management team.
He said Paul Chizi retired in 2004 and was paid all his terminal benefits, but “he was brought back without following public services regulations, laws and procedures.”
“Some money was allocated for the development of the company, but the management used it to purchase posh cars. The management squandered part of USD 7m which was paid by an insurance company as compensation for ATCL’s airplane which was involved in an incident,” said Mwakyembe, listing factors behind the sacking of Chizi.
Local newspapers reported that Mwakyembe nullified the appointment of the Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) Acting Managing Director Paul Chizi and suspended four other officials due to violation of public service regulations and failure to manage the company.
The minister will form a special committee of three people with legal and financial knowledge to investigate ATC expenditure against its financial report submitted in May, this year.
Dr Mwakyembe appointed Capt Lusajo Lazaro to replace him.
The four suspended officers are John Ringo the Acting Director for Engineering, Amin Mziray, the company’s legal officer, Justus Bashara, Acting Director for Finance and Josephat Kagirwa Acting Director for Business Development.