Thursday, April 23, 2009

DECI members demand apology from PM Pinda.

Some members of the banned Development Entrepreneurship Community Initiative (DECI) have asked Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to apologise over his recent assertion that the scheme\'s operations were illegal

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, leader of the DECI members` committee, Pastor Issack Kalenge, said Pinda`s statement that the scheme could end up robbing thousands of Tanzanians of their life savings was a humiliation to them. Speaking to editors in Dar es Salaam last week the Premier said DECI was operating against the laws of the land that prohibit pyramid and other similar schemes.

Pastor Kalenge also called on Finance and Economic Affairs minister Mustafa Mkulo to resign for lying to the public over operations of the `initiative`. The pastor said Mkulo had denied them the truth by saying that he did not open a DECI branch in Kilosa District, Morogoro Region. He claimed that minister Mkulo was aware of DECI operations as he agreed to officiate at the opening ceremony of the branch in Kilosa. ``Mkulo should stop distracting DECI activities. We are the ones who have entered the contract with DECI and not the government, this is our money…we have all the rights to fight for it…we don`t need the minister to intervene,`` he said.

Mkulo has already denied having blessed any activity leading to the opening of the \'initiative\' in his constituency. Pastor Kalenge also asked Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Suleiman Kova to stop threatening innocent DECI members who were demanding for their trapped money. ``We want Commander Kova to stop threatening our members. He should also stop restricting us from gathering to discuss about the fate of our money…we are organising a peaceful public rally to be held at Jangwani grounds in the city on Saturday and we don’t need a permit from the police,`` he said.

When contacted for comment Commander Kova said: ``We don`t want any argument with them, they have to abide by the law``. Meanwhile, DECI members will on Saturday start receiving back the money they `ploughed` under an arrangement described as ``uprooting the sown seeds.`` According to the pay-back schedule, which `The Guardian` managed to get a copy at a cost of 100/- from DECI headquarters in the city, the ``seeds uprooting exercise`` would be executed between Saturday and May 30, this year. Members to be refunded in the exercise are those who have `sown` their `seeds,` but were unable to `reap` any amount before the scheme was halted.

The refunding would follow the procedure of `last in first out` and the exercise will take six weeks. As of yesterday, DECI offices and its branches were flooded with members, and most of them were busy with receipts stamping. DECI members were seen in long queues waiting their receipts to be stamped on, as part of verification exercise for re-payment. It could not however be known where DECI management got the money from since the government was holding all its accounts. Those interviewed blamed the government for distracting the scheme. ``We blame the government for what has happened because they could find a way to deal with the officials without involving us,`` said Joseph Raga, one of the members.

Last week, the government seized all the money in the accounts owned by DECI until further notice. Finance and Economic Affairs minister said the decision to seize the accounts was reached to allay persistent fears among DECI members who had `sown` their money in the pyramidal scheme which had been declared illegal. The move came barely a week after it announced that DECI was operating illegally. Bank of Tanzania, Capital Markets & Securities Authority (CMSA) and other government institutions published notices warning the public that DECI was engaged in the pyramidal scheme which was illegal. On April 8, this year, PCT Committee Chairman Bishop Bartholomew Sheggah said already the church had appealed to President Jakaya Kikwete to intervene in the matter.

SOURCE: Guardian

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