16 February 2017

Tanzania: Salt to the Wound - Manji, Others Booked On Fraud

Photo: Daily News
Yusuf Manji.

Dar es Salaam business magnet Yusuf Manji and High Court District Registrar Pamela Mazengo are among three persons accused of involvement in fraud and corruption in transactions that sealed the sale of 34,479 shares worth over 13bn/- in Mic Tanzania Limited, which trades as Tigo.

The third suspect in the deal is Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA), which is claimed to have acted unlawfully by changing the records of Tigo in regard to the shares in question.

These revelations came to light before the Court of Appeal in Dar es Salaam yesterday, where advocate Ndurumah Majembe, for Quality Group, testified during hearing of preliminary points of objections in application for revision of High Court proceedings on the matter.

Such revision proceedings have been called by the court 'Suo Mottu' (own motion) to examine the correctness, legality or propriety of the proceedings, judgment and decree issued by the High Court's District Registrar Pamela Mazengo on November 10 and 13, 2014.

The court initiated the revision proceedings after acting on a complaint letter by Millicom (Tanzania) NV, a limited liability company registered under the laws of Curacao, which claims to be the majority shareholder of MIC Tanzania Limited or Tigo, a company registered in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Advocate Majembe told Justices Mbarouk Mbarouk, Augustine Mwarija and Shaban Lila that the allegations levelled against such persons were very serious and the court would not proceed determining the matter without joining them into the proceedings.

Assisted by advocates Herbert Nyange, Mpaya Kamara and Joseph Ndazi, the counsel submitted: "Without joining these persons it will be difficult for us to answer to them. We pray for direction of the court and that this court finds it prudent to join them in these proceedings.

" In the complaint letter referred to by advocate Majembe, Millicom (Tanzania) NV accuses the District Registrar of forgery, fabrication and serious misconduct.

It is stated that her decision to issue two variance certificates in the disputed sale of the shares raised serious concern of illegality of the transaction. Quoting Millicom NV's letter, the advocate submitted that there were allegations to the effect that such transfer of shares to Golden Globe International Services Limited allegedly owned by businessman Yusuf Manji was illegal, charging that the judicial officer allegedly connived with the company to commit the offence.

"Those quotations imply serious allegations against fraud, forgery, illegality and serious misconduct on part of the District Registrar Mazengo, a court official who is not before you to answer the allegations," Mr Majembe further submitted.

He also submitted that Millicom (Tanzania) NV had introduced other allegations to the effect that it has been "a victim of fraud by Mr Manji" even though the businessman has not been made a party to the revision proceedings so that he could be afforded with opportunity to be heard against those claims.

Adding salt on the wound, advocate Nyange notified the court that even those parties, who were present during original proceedings in the High Court, notably MIC UFA Ltd, Millicom International Cellular SA and MIC Tanzania Limited, have not been joined into the proceedings.

"This constitutes to a serious problem. The only remedy the court could do under the circumstances is to strike out these revision proceedings or dismiss them. When you accuse someone of fraud you have to prove such claims strictly," he submitted.

However, advocate Eric Ng'mario, for Millicom (Tanzania) NV, countered that what had been presented "could not amount to pure points of law" because the question of having alternative remedy and non-joinder of the parties to the proceedings could not bring the dispute to an end.

Assisted by counsels Fayaz Bhojan, Audax Vedasto and Gaudiosus Ishengoma, the senior advocates submitted that the revision proceedings have been called by the court in order to exercise its supervisory powers over the conduct of the High Court. "The court should not limit itself to

exercise those powers. The merits or demerits of the records have nothing to do with supervisory powers of the court. The moment the court moves 'suo mottu' it cannot be imputed.

This cannot be prevented by any party," he submitted. Original proceedings in the High Court were initiated by Briton James Bell, who did not attend yesterday's proceedings despite summons from the court.

His 'no-show' became another subject of contention between the parties - of whether the summons sent to him were proper. Before the High Court, Mr Bell had obtained a default judgment, but execution proceedings could not go smoothly until November 10, 2014, when the Registrar issued a certificate of sale.

However, Millicom NV indicates that having realised that it has purchased shares which didn't exist, the buyer (of those shares) allegedly moved the District Registrar to issue another certificate of sale, where the name of Millicom NV was inserted.

Millicom NV states in the complaint letter to the Chief Justice (CJ) that "the circumstances surrounding this 'editing' of the Order issued by Mazengo by DR (district registrar) strongly imply forgery or fabrication and serious misconduct.

" It is stated that Millicom NV was 'added' by DR Mazengo to court proceedings "by the stroke of a pen" without ever being a party to the case, without having heard, without summons from the court and "in highly suspicious circumstances."

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