In Summary
  • The permanent secretary of Trade and Industries ministry, Professor Joseph Buchweishaija, said the track record of the company was not the basic criterion for awarding it the contract
  • Sources in Kenya’s financial services sector expressed doubts that this deal would be financed by a Kenyan bank, given the shadowy nature of the firm.
  • The country’s stringent financial reporting and anti-money laundering regulations would pose serious hurdles to the deal.

DAR ES SALAAM,

A top government official has defended the $180 million (Sh18 billion) cashew nuts deal with Indo Power Solutions, a Kenyan company whose credibility has now been brought to question.

The permanent secretary of Trade and Industries ministry, Professor Joseph Buchweishaija, said the track record of the company was not the basic criterion for awarding it the contract to purchase 100,000 tonnes of cashews nuts from Tanzania.

“The seller of cashews is the Cereals and Other Produce Board of Tanzania, and our task (as a ministry) was to make sure that we seal the purchase deal. What you are looking at is the ability of the buyer to pay for the asking price, the rest is left between them,” he said on Sunday in a telephone interview with Mwananchi.

Asked about the ethical and credibility questions being raised concerning the financial ability of Indo Power Solutions, the PS defended the apparent size of the Kenyan firm to see the deal through.

He said it was possible that the company may have not conducted such business before; but it saw an opportunity – and grabbed it.

“We all know that most rich people have no cash in hand; they borrow from banks. These people have taken a bank loan, and I urge Tanzanians to use such opportunities when they arise,” Prof Buchweishaija said.

'NO COMMENT'

Reached for comment, Bank of Tanzania Governor Florens Luoga said through a spokesman that such queries should be referred to the Cereals Board as it was better appraised on the matter.

But the board’s executive director, Dr Hussein Mansoor, was not able, willing or ready to discuss the contract.

“There are some things in progress so I cannot say anything until they are concluded. I ask that you be patient,” he told Mwananachi.

Pushed to say if all critical aspects were looked into before entering the deal with the Kenyan company, Dr Mansoor said: “The ministry of Industry saw the contract through. They are the experts. Even if we are signatories, they empower us.”

He did not expound.

'SHADOWY'

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