A PROSECUTION witness, Said Abdallah Kimwaga, alleged at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam that Suma JKT mobilized defective heavy machines and other equipment during construction of Msata-Bagamoyo Road about three years ago.
The witness, who was a Human Resources Manager with Takopa Construction Company Limited, a local company, whose shareholders were Suma JKT and a foreign partner, Chung Moo from Korea, was testifying in a case in which seven senior army officers are charged with abuse of their positions.
Led by a Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) official Lizy Kiwia, the witness told Senior Resident Magistrate Aloyce Katemana that the alleged procurement of the defective construction equipment fuelled a dispute among the said two shareholders, prompting the Koreans to abandon the site.
He said that Tanzania National Road Agency (Tanroad) signed a contract for the construction of the road in question with Takopa Company and by 2009 when he started working with the company the advance payments for mobilization of construction equipment had not been provided.
According to him, his company struggled to get the payments to enable construction work to start. Tanrods, later on, issued the money and started pushing the construction work to start without any further delay, notably the mobilization of construction equipment.
"The availability of such funds created a division among the shareholders. The Koreans' side wanted to take the money for procurement of equipment from their own country. On the other hand Suma JKT opposed the idea and insisted that the machines be procured within the country," Mr Kibwana said.
Thereafter, he went on, Suma JKT managed to get the funds for mobilization of the equipment, but the Korean partner complained bitterly and alleged that the equipment procured were defective and were not suitable for road construction work. "There was no understanding anymore from the two sides.
The Koreans, finally entered the site and tried to use the equipment, but later decided to abandon the project and left the country," the witness said when concluding his testimony.
Hearing of the case continues today. In the trial, the accused persons are Col. Ayoub Emu Mwakang'ata, Lt. Col. Mkohi Chacha Kichogo, Lt. Col Paul Andrew Mayavi, Lt. Col. Felix Andrew Samillan, Maj. Peter Mabula Lushika, Maj. Yohana Leonard Nyuchi and Sgt John Andrew Laizer.
They are facing seven counts of abuse of their positions, as executive committee and Suma JKT Tender Board members and conspiracy to transfer funds from Takopa Construction Company Limited bank account to that of Suma JKT without observing the provisions of the Public Finance Regulations of 2001.
It is alleged that between March 5 and 12, 2009, all accused persons abused their positions by passing resolutions authorizing Suma JKT Tender Board to act as Takopa Construction tender board and procured used motor vehicles and construction equipment, without authority.
The prosecution claims further that between March 16 and May 4, 2009, Lt Col. Samillan and Lt Col. Kichogo abused their positions by transferring a total sum of 3,853,629,516/- from the Takopa Construction Company Limited account to that of Suma JKT without observing the law.