The Bureau for Prevention and Combating of Corruption (PCCB) has launched investigations into the alleged embezzlement of 150 mln in funds issued by a private firm to revive a grape scheme at Chinangali in Chamwino District.
PCCB District Chief, Ms Sifa Mwanjara, told the Daily News yesterday that they are working on audit reports submitted by the registrar of the Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC) that specifically reviewed the project.
Spread over nearly 1250 hectares, the scheme was established in 2007 with funds from the District Council and CRDB and was to benefit some 296 farmers. It had a dam constructed to harvest rainwater, in addition to three boreholes designed to provide a year-round water supply.
Unfortunately, according to the remaining farmers the project has turned into a 'white elephant' rendering some of the established irrigation infrastructures to remain idle. A beneficiary, Rehema Hamis said that the district authority had suspended payments for water bills and farmers are unable to foot the bills on their own.
However, Godfrey Mnyande, Chamwino District Agricultural Officer claimed that the council provided electricity and inputs to facilitate grape cultivation to its best levels. "This programme was planned to end in 2014 and the authority suggested that, each farmer should pay at least 50/- from every kilo sold to foot electricity and production bills... only for politicians to confuse farmers into rejecting the plan and saying that 30/- was enough," he pointed out.
He said in 2017, the council received financial support amounting to 150 mln- from Alko Vintage Company Limited to revive some key infrastructures, adding: "Only for the money to be mismanaged by the managers."