THE government on Monday in Mwanza returned assets worth over 61bn/- to Nyanza Cooperative Union (NCU-1984 Ltd) that were illegally acquired by some of the Union’s dishonest staff some years back.

Speaking at an occasion to handover the property, the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Mr Gerald Kusaya (pictured) warned cooperative officers, who engage in illegal possession of their property that the government will not hesitate to punish them.

Elaborating, he noted that any cooperative union’s asset(s) acquired illegally and owned by an individual(s) or institutions will be returned to the actual owner.

Naming the assets as pieces of land, buildings and some 48 different machineries handed over, Mr Kusaya further said that stern measures will be taken against any identified suspect(s) who will also try to engage such public property embezzlement.

He said the recovery was made possible after the Prime Minister; appointed a special team to probe the NCU and unearthed such scam.

“I would like to thank the team for the good work. The government through the Ministry of Agriculture is seriously working on the team’s report, and all the missing property will be recovered,” he noted.

However, he called upon other cooperative unions countrywide to see into it that dishonest staff are exposed, saying: “It was not an easy task to return these properties, the government through its experts worked day and night to ensure these assets are handed back to the actual owners, all cooperative union leaders must, therefore, commit to protecting the assets.”

In a related development, Mr Kusaya also directed the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Dr Benson Ndiege to ensure that assets recovered are well utilised, adding: “If there is any leader who thinks this job is too tough for him… the doors are opened. The government will no longer tolerate any leader who will allow loopholes to embezzlers.” On his part, Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr John Mongella said that the recovery of the assets was not an easy task. “But, I must thank the Prime Minister for the special team he formed that also did a professional work… this takes me back to August 2016, when President instructed us to ensure that all NCU stolen assets are immediately recovered. “I must admit that the work was to a large extent tedious but with the experience and skills of the special team…they managed it,” further said Mr Mongela. Earlier, the team’s chairman, Asengye Bangu expressed his gratitude to various state organs, which formed the sleuths, citing them as the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the Regional Commissioner’s office.

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