Sabahi (Washington, DC)

14 February 2013

Tanzania: Five Arrested Over Stolen Export Minerals At Dar Es Salam Port

Five people, including a Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) official, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the theft of minerals due for export, Tanzania's Daily News reported Thursday (February 14th).

Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe said police have arrested TRA official Mohammed Mbutu, the boss and executive director of GFC Clearing and Forwarding Agency, a principal technologist with the Tanzania Minerals Agency, and the owner of Rod Holdings Clearing and Forwarding Agency. Three other suspects are being questioned by the police, but have yet to be formally arrested, Mwakyembe said.

A police search found the suspects with 44 tonnes of tantalite minerals due for export to Italy, he said. The cargo contained a forged permit valuing the minerals at 35 million shillings ($22,000), but he said mineral experts value one kilo of tantalite at 330,000 shillings ($207), which would place the real value of the haul at more than 14.6 billion shillings ($9.1 million).

The minerals were stolen from the International Container Depots while in transit at the Dar es Salaam Port from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The search was carried out in response to complaints by Rwandan government officials over the theft or loss of their cargo.

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