Tanzania’s Hassan suspends ports chief, continuing Magufuli’s anti-graft stance

NAIROBI — Tanzania’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, on Sunday ordered the suspension of the head of the ports authority over corruption allegations, continuing her late predecessor’s anti-graft drive.

Observers have been keen to see signs of policy direction from Hassan, who was sworn in on March 19 after John Magufuli died, and whose soft-spoken, consensus-seeking personality contrasts with his brash populism and authoritarianism.

Speaking in the political capital Dodoma after receiving a government audit report, Hassan signaled that, in respect of corruption at least, she would follow his tough line.

“I would like to assure you that I will be very firm in the collection and expenditure of public funds,” she said. “I will also stand firm against all corrupt practices.”

The report called for an investigation into the apparent disappearance of 3.6 billion shillings ($1.56 million) from the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), headed by Deusdedit Kakoko.

“I would like to order the suspension of the director general of the port authority to pave a way for the investigation,” Hassan said.

She has also asked the auditor general and a state anti-corruption agency to conduct a special audit of funds disbursed to development projects this year.

Hassan had been Magufuli’s vice president before he died. She is Tanzania’s first female head of state and is expected to complete Magufuli’s five-year term, which started last November. ($1 = 2,314.0000 Tanzanian shillings) (Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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