PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday ordered cooperative societies in Lindi region with outstanding payments to farmers to immediately settle the claims or risk arrest and prosecution.
He directed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa (pictured), Ministry of Agriculture and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to put to task all cooperatives leaders who haven’t paid farmers their dues.
Dr Magufuli said Agricultural and Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) in the region have to start paying framers’ claims effective today or risk imprisonment.
Addressing a public rally at Likangala Secondary School grounds in Lindi region’s Ruangwa District, Dr Magufuli said the government will never tolerate cooperative societies that exploit farmers, subjecting them to perpetual poverty.
“The government cannot allow few people to continue subjecting farmers to exploitation… I want the evil acts to stop instantly, deal with these exploiters mercilessly,” President Magufuli ordered the premier.
He cautioned cashewnut middlemen—Kangomba—that they should not engage themselves in the business becausethey will not be paid.
“This people cause poverty to farmers, you were paid during the last season but this time you will not be paid,” Dr Magufuli insisted.
President Magufuli applauded Premier Majaliwa for his exemplary performance in dealing with underperforming public officials.
“You are doing a great job, you should also deal with these cooperatives, which exploit farmers in your region,” he said.
Earlier, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe said that the government has embarked on review of cooperatives system in the country, saying majority of the cooperative leaders were not trustworthy.
Mr Bashe accused 19 cooperative societies in Lindi region of robbing farmers of their 430m/-.
He gave the ten cooperatives, which haven’t paid farmers to settle the payments by Friday next week.
Addressing another publicrally at Kiwalala Village on his way to Ruangwa District, President Magufuli ordered public officers at Sokoine Regional Hospital in Lindi to repay the embezzled 135.5m/-.
Dr Magufuli said that some of the hospital executives were involved in misappropriation of 49.5m/-, which they paid themselves for supervising the rehabilitation of a children’s ward at the regional hospital.
The head of state added that the regional hospital was also involved in 86m/- loss through payment to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in Lindi via the Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) bank account since June last year.
President Magufuli said hisdirectives serve as a warning to Mtama District executives as they embark on construction of the district hospital.
He said the government has already disbursed 1.5bn/- for construction of Mtama District Hospital, reminding that the money should be spent solely on the intended purposes.
He revealed that some officials at the regional hospital were also accused of selling a vehicle, which was under a donor funded project to Lindi chiefaccountant, leaving the hospital with no car.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli has declared Mtama as the headquarters of Mtama District Council, the former Lindi Rural District Council.
The president’s declaration ended controversy over the place for construction of the council headquarters.
“I am aware of the raging debate on the head office location, but since this subject also falls under my portfolio, I declare that the district council headquarters will be at Mtama,” President Magufuli said.
He instructed Mtama District Council executives to relocate to their administrative confine before October 30 this year.
“During my tour of Rukwa region, I issued a 30-day ultimatum to all district councils’ directors to relocate to their administrative precincts, Lindi Rural District is one of them but it remains in town,” he said.
He said the district councils were established to take services closer to the people but some executives have unjustifiably remained in towns.