23 February 2017

Tanzania: Who is Yusuf Manji?

Photo: OGL/The Citizen
Yusuf Manji, the chairman of Yanga F.C and boss of Quality Group.

Cape Town — Yusuf Manji, is a name which has been trending in the Tanzanian news recently. Although he is well-known for his successful business life, right now it's happening for all the wrong reasons. A series of scandals led us to ask - who is this controversial figure?

Just the facts

He is CEO of Quality Group Limited (QGL), a privately held firm owned by the Manji family.

According to his Linkedin profile, the tycoon heads the U.S.$700 million conglomerate and the secrets of laudable success is quite simple, "Look ahead".

Manji took over his father's Dar es Salaam-based motor works company in 1995 and turned it into a diversified successful multinational company with operation in the Unites States, United Arab Emirates and India and Kenya. It is now the biggest conglomerate in the country with 17 companies in the automotive, engineering products, international trade, logistic solutions and warehousing, real estate development, food processing, consulting, transport, aluminium and fisheries sector.

His firm has over 3,500 people on its payroll and many more contracted workers. It reportedly supports over 10,000 families around the world.

He is well-known for his firm's community work, which includes sponsoring many students and financial contributions during national crises.

Manji is the Chairman and a Trustee of Young Africans Sports Club, the largest football club in East Africa.

He is also the Chairman of the Tanzanian Industrial Fishing and Processors Association.

But what about Manji's legal woes?

1. Tigo Fraud Case

Manji is being accused of participating in fraud and corruption in transactions that sealed the sale of 34,479 shares worth over 13 billion shillings in Mic Tanzania Limited, which trades as Tigo. Lawyers representing a British registered company associated with businessman Yusuf Manji have claimed that the billionaire businessman owns 99 per cent of telecoms company.

2. Drug Abuse Allegations

According to the Daily News, Manji was accused of consuming Heroine, diacetyl-morphine and charged under section 17 (1) (a) of the Drugs Control and Enforcement Act No. 5 of 2005, which upon conviction, provides for a fine of not less than one million shillings, a five-year jail term or both sentences. Granting the bail, the magistrate sat two conditions requiring the accused to sign a hefty bond and secure one reliable surety who also signed the bond.

3. Illegal Immigrants

As the owner of Quality Group of Companies, he is facing charges of illegal hiring of 25 foreigners without working permits. The Immigration Department conducted an intensive search at the Quality Centre building along Nyerere Road and uncovered the 126 foreign employees, 25 of whom allegedly lacked valid permits to work in the country.

4. Manji and Yanga SC Take Over

The tycoon has been in the news and courts last year in his bid to take over the country's biggest and successful soccer club Yanga.

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