19 August 2009

Tanzania: EPA Case for Fresh Hearing Today

Hearing of Sh3.7 billion-theft case through External Payment Arrears (EPA) account facing three Bank of Tanzania (BoT) officials and three businessmen begins today at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court.

The decision to carry on with the case was reached yesterday after the prosecution made an amendment to the charges.

In the case, three businessmen Farijala Hussein, Shaban Maranda and Ajay Soman are charged with stealing Sh3.7 billion at BoT's EPA account through a local company registered as Mibale Farm.

Charged along them are BoT employees, Mr Iman Mwakyosa, head of the bilateral and commercial department, the deputy director of debt department, Ms Ester Komu and a secretary to the bank Ms Sophia Lakila.

Yesterday the case came for hearing where the first witness in the case Mr Salem Kisai was to be cross-examined by the defense counsel in relation to his testimony.

However, before the hearing of the case Principal State Attorney, Boniface Stanslaus asked a panel of magistrates led by resident magistrate Samuel Karua to allow them to amend the charge sheet by removing one count of stealing and add other counts.

Reading the amended charge sheet, Mr Stanlsaus told the court that in the first count all the accused allegedly conspired with other people to obtain money by false pretences.

Prosecution alleged that in second count between January 18 and November 3 in 2005, Mr Hussein forged certificate of registration and extract form register number 46218 purporting to show that it was signed and issued by deputy registrar of the Business Names institution to the Mibale Farm Company.

The businessman also allegedly presented the said forged certificates to the United Bank of Africa (UBA) on Sept 12 year, 2005.

In another count, the prosecution told the court that all six accused allegedly obtained Sh1, 099,400,000 from BoT EPA account through Mibale Farm Company.

It was further alleged that the three businessmen falsely obtained Sh2,769,000,737 after presenting forged document to BoT to show that the said Mibale Farm Company was assigned the said debt by Lakshin Textile Mills Company of India.

In the last count, it was alleged that the three BoT officials, as specified authority occasioned a loss to BoT after failing to discharge their duties in a reasonable manner.

After the charge was read, defence counsels led by advocate Majura Magafu asked the court to start afresh the hearing of the case due to the amendments made to the charge sheet.

The panel agreed and set today for preliminary hearing.

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