13 March 2014

Tanzania: Accused Defends Roadwork Money Transfer to JKT

A senior military officer, Colonel Ayoub Mwakang'ata, yesterday dismissed as nonsense the prosecution's claims that the money transferred from a private construction company to Suma JKT during the construction of Msata-Bagamoyo road belonged to the government.

"That money was shifted from Takopa Construction Company's account to Suma JKT to facilitate the purchase of construction equipment and in agreement with shareholders," Col Mwakang'ata told Senior Resident Magistrate Aloyce Katemana at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam.

Col Mwakang'ata, the Managing Director of Suma JKT, was giving his defence evidence in the abuse of position charges he and six other senior military officers are facing.

Others are Lt. Col Paul Andrew Mayavi, Lt. Col. Mkohi Chacha Kichogo, Lt. Col. Felix Andrew Samillan, Maj. Yohana Leonard Nyuchi, Maj. Peter Mabula Lushika and Sgt John Andrew Laizer.

They are charged with abuse of their positions during the construction of Msata-Bagamoyo Road by Takopa Construction Company, whose shareholders were Suma JKT and a foreign partner, Chung Moo from Korea, at a cost of 12bn/-.

The Company had signed the contract with Tanzania National Road Agency. It is alleged that between March 5 and 12 in 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 of 3,853,629,516/- from the Takopa Construction Company Limited account to that of Suma JKT without observing legal requirements.

But during his defence testimony, Col. Mwakang'ata told the court that Takopa was a private company and was, thus not obliged to follow procurement laws.

He testified that the transfer of the funds from Takopa to Suma JKT had all the blessings of shareholders. Led by advocate Makubi Kunju Makubi, the senior military officer said that the shareholders held two meetings in March 2009 after being awarded the tender to undertake the construction works and it was agreed that Suma JKT should take the responsibility of procuring the construction equipment.

Since Suma JKT had no money, he said, it was agreed in those meetings that funds for Takopa should be transferred to the accounts of Suma JKT to enable the procurement process. Col. Mwakang'ata produced minutes of the meetings to support his testimony.

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