ATCL boss sacked, four top officials suspended

Mr Chizi.
Barely a month after taking office as the minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has sacked Air Tanzania’s acting director-general Paul Chizi. 

He was replaced by Captain Lusajo Lazaro, who will hold the fort in an acting capacity.

Captain Lusajo was formerly the director of operations at the airline. Mr Chizi was appointed to the managerial position in August last year. 

The sacking order drew immediate praise from the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Organisations Accounts (POAC), Mr Deo Filikunjombe, who declared it a sign that the minister was serious about tackling the airline’s problems.

Dr Mwakyembe also suspended four other directors of the national carrier, among them acting director of engineering John Ringo. Also sent home were Mr Amin Mziray of the legal department, acting director of finance Justus Bashara and acting director of business Josephat Kagirwa.

A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Mr Omar Chambo, said the changes would take effect immediately. According to the PS, the five violated the Public Service Act and public service procedures.

The statement reads: “Through Act No 8 of 2002 and Public Service Principle No 17(4) of 2003, the minister for Transport has revoked the appointment of the acting ATCL director-general with effect from 5 June.”

The other four directors were suspended on the grounds that their services had threatened the survival of a public entity.

Dr Mwakyembe will now form a committee of three to investigate how the money released by the government in May this year has been spent. Members of the committee will be required to have legal and financial experience.  Mr Chizi, who served the firm for 10 months, was not available for comment.

In their just-concluded session in Dodoma, MPs objected to what they described as the constant need to bail out ATCL and also having to pay for “irresponsible” decisions made by top management. 

The politicians were particularly angry about liabilities incurred through guarantees given by the government in connection with aircraft deals.

The airline is in the financial doldrums and has no plane to its name. Reportedly against the advice of experts and opposition within the airline itself, ATCL entered into a lease agreement for an A320 on the strength of a government guarantee.

Dr Mwakyembe’s move was an instant hit with Mr Filikunjombe, who congratulated the minister for Transport for listening to MPs.

He added: “It’s a good start for Dr Mwakyembe. He seems to be serious about reviving the national carrier…this will have an impact on civil servants who have been thinking they are above everything.”  

 It was a mistake, Mr Filikunjombe said, to appoint the outgoing Air Tanzania Company Limited acting director-general, who once served as managing director of the defunct Community Airline,  and it was important that a competent team be appointed now if ATCL was to be rescued.
Source: The Citizen,http://www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Mkinga Mkinga
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