Killer robbers condemned, unarmed robbers forgiven
In a movie-style raid ten armed robbers on Friday killed a watchman and wounded 14 in a daring NMB bank raid, in Temeke in Dar es Salaam.
The gangsters, who came in three vehicles bearing government and SU numbers plate, carried heavy weapons including hand grenades. This was the first time a gang used hand grenades to rob a bank in Tanzania, but not the first time armed robbers targeted the NMB bank.
One of the grenades was used to blow up the security guard, Seif Mwikwike to bits. At least 14 people were injured, four of them seriously in the 15 minute raid in which the gangsters escaped with 150 million shillings.
Then grenades and the heavy weapons are widely believed to have seeped through Tanzania’s porous borders with its western neighbors, including Burundi and DRC.
Police have thrown a cordon around Dar es Salaam city and Home Affairs, Lawrence Masha has vowed that the police had mounted a major manhunt for the robbers. “We are confident we will get them all.
“It was a most unexpected and rapid incident, but we will make sure that we get to the bottom of this… they (robbers) should be assured that they are not going to get away with this. We are going to get them.” He promised.
While the Home Affairs minister was talking tough, Parliament in Tanzania’s un-built capital of Dodoma on Friday gave the nod to the unarmed robbery of Sh 15.48 billion that the government had failed to recover over the last decade.
The debts were in tax claims, uncollected accounts, theft or misappropriation of monies by public officials and expired government supplies across some agencies and ministries.
The money included Sh1.76 billion stolen at the Ministry of Water, between2001 and 2004, with the buying of the hugely over-priced water compressors. The ministry’s employees bought three water compressors at a price of $950,000 from Canada, instead of $210,000 for similar equipment from Belgium. This means $1.8 million dollars have been pocketed in that deal. No one has been arrested and no one has talked tough as the result of this daylight robbery without violence.
Deputy ministry for Finance Omar Yussuf Mzee, told Parliament while requesting for debt cancellation that about Sh 463 million was the amount stolen by dishonest workers. He said another Sh 11 billion was in pending arrears whose collection has become untenable, while Sh 1.3 billion has simply disappeared in irreconcilable accounts.
The Same East MP, Anne Kilango-Malecela told Parliament that his should be the last time the Bunge was asked to help the government clears debts it owes. “We will not accept in the future to hand you that privilege. It is unfortunate that we are letting thieves go scot-free.” She said, adding that Parliament should not approve embezzlement of public funds. The government has said nothing about taking stern measures on the unarmed robbers still in its offices.
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