4 January 2013

Tanzania: Simba Admits Keeping UDA Money

FORMER Cabinet Minister Iddi Simba admitted at a preliminary hearing before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court, that his bank account was credited a total of 320m/-, by the Simon Group Limited, a company that bought the shares of Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA).

But Mr Simba was quick to point out that, "It is not correct, it is a fabrication and it is false for anyone to say that the purpose of crediting such amount to my bank account was to advance payment for the shares sold to the Simon Group.

"It is also not true that part of the money was spent on the purchase of a car from Africarriers Limited." During the hearing, the prosecution alleged that the former UDA Chairman of the Board of Directors and renowned businessman, spent 100m/- to buy a Land Cruiser VX and that prior to the transfer of the money by Simon Group, his bank account held only 3m/-.

Other accused persons in the case are then Board Director Salum Mwaking'ida and former General Manager Victor Milanzi. The case, which is presided over by Principal Resident Magistrate Ilvin Mgeta, has been set for hearing on February 4, 2013.

Reading the memorandum of the facts of the case, State Attorney Awamu Mbangwa claimed that in 1997, the government declared UDA a specified public corporation and in the course of its operations it decided to sell shares to any private investor of requisite capacity to improve its services.

After such declaration, the Presidential Parastatal Sector Reform Commission advertised sale of government shares in UDA, but no investor succeeded in winning the offer because of lack of requisite qualifications.

On August 31, 2009, the prosecution alleged, the Executive Chairman of Simon Group Limited, Mr Robert Kisena, on behalf of his company, submitted to the management of UDA a letter of intent to purchase 49 per cent of the government shares.

In response, UDA Management through a letter dated September 2, 2009, instructed the company to advance payment of 400m/-, as an indication to purchase the intended shares. "The said letter further instructed Simon Group Limited to deposit the sum into a personal bank account owned by Iddi Simba at Bank M, Sea View Branch, on the purported ground that all UDA bank accounts had overdrafts, a fact that the accused persons knew was false," the prosecutor claimed.

In compliance with the instructions given by the accused in the letter, on September 3, 2009, Kisena on behalf of his company transferred 250m/- into Simba's personal account and on the same day the ex-minister withdrew 100m/-.

The following day, according to the prosecution, Mr Simba transferred 100m/- from his bank account to an account owned by Africarriers to form a part payment for the purchase of a Toyota Land cruiser VX (registration number T 561 BCX), currently registered in the name of the accused.

"Prior to the credit of 250m/-, the first accused (Simba)'s account had a balance of 3,329,242/88) only," the State Attorney alleged. After such first deposit, Mr Simba allegedly orally instructed Kisena to effect subsequent deposits into an account owned by Pride Tanzania Limited of which he was Board Chairman.

On November 26, 2009 and December 9, 2009, Mr Kisena deposited 30m/- and 20m/-, respectively. The said sum was later on December 4, 2009 and January 27, 2010 transferred into another bank account owned by Pride Tanzania and finally credited into the first accused's personal bank account.

"However, all this money did not get into UDA accounts. Rather, it ended up being misappropriated by the first (Simba) and third (Milanzi) accused," the prosecution concluded.

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