THREE people, including a couple, have lodged an appeal to the High Court, challenging both conviction and sentence imposed on them last week for their role in crimes involving External Payment Arrears (EPA) account of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
The trio, Manase Hezekia Mwakale and his wife Eddah Nkoma Mwakale and businessman Bahati John Mahenge, through their advocate Deogratius Lyimo, are opposing the 26 years' imprisonment sentence passed against them after being convicted of seven counts, among the nine they were charged with.
In the notice of appeal filed on Monday, the convicts are requesting the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam to supply them the court proceedings, judgment and decree so that they could prepare memorandum of facts, stating reasons of faulting the verdict.
On September 27, this year, a panel of magistrates comprising Ms Sekela Mosha, Mr Sam Rumanyika and Mr Lameck Mlacha convicted the three persons of the offences after being satisfied by sufficient evidence produced by prosecution witnesses.
The offences proved by the prosecution against the three, include conspiracy to steal from the BoT's EPA account a sum of 1,186,534,303/27, obtaining registration of company using a fictitious name and making false declaration of registration form. Other charges proved were forgery of specimen signature card and deed of assignment and uttering the documents.
In each counts of conspiracy, obtaining false registration and uttering false documents, the magistrates provided a sentence of five years to each convict. In these counts, the convicts were Mahenge and Manase alone.
On counts of forging specimen signature card and deed of assignment of a debt, all three were convicted and jailed 18 months for each count, while Mahenge alone was jailed seven years for making false declaration on registration form.
The magistrates ruled that the sentences provided would run concurrently, meaning that Mahenge would spend behind bars for only seven years, while Manase would serve a sentence of five years only. Under similar arrangements, Eddah would remain in jail for only one year and a half.
In their judgment, the magistrates also ordered Mahenge and Manase to return to the government the sum of 1.18bn/- after serving their respective sentences. The prosecution had told the court that the offences in question were committed between December 2003 and October 2005.
It was alleged that the accused persons had forged the deed of assignment, showing that Japanese Company, Marubeni Corporation had transferred the debt of the said 1.18bn/- to a local firm, Changanyikeni Residential Complex, while it was untrue.
The three had been charged together with two other people, Davies Magnus Kamungu and Godfrey Herry Mosha, in the case but the panel ruled in their favour after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them.