Sixteen Indian nationals working with Quality Group Limited yesterday escaped a threeyear- jail term each when they paid fines totalling 22m/-, after they were convicted of several offences relating to violation of immigration laws, including obstructing immigration officers from executing their duties.
Principal Resident Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha, sitting before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam, convicted the accused on their own plea of guilty to the charges, which also include possession of forged visas, unlawful presence in Tanzania and illegal engaging in occupation.
They are: Rajat Sarkar (35), Jagadish Mamidu (29), Niladri Maiti (41), Divakar RaJasekaran (37), Bijenda Kumar (43), Prason Mallik (32), Nipun Bhatt (32), Anuj Agarwal (44), Varun Bollor (34), Arun Kateel (46), Avinash Chandratiwari (33) and Vikram Sankhala (50), who are all consultants.
Others are: Mohamed Shaikh (44), who is an accountant; Pintu Kumar (28), an assistant manager; Jose Kiran (40), a Project Investment Manager and Prakash Bhatt (35), a Company Secretary.
A prosecutor from the Immigration Department, Method Kagoma, told the court that all the accused, except Kiran and Bhatt, committed the offences on February 13, this year, at Quality Group Limited, Ilala District in Dar es Salaam.
The prosecution alleged that being citizens of the Republic of India, the accused persons were found in possession of forged business visas, unlawfully present in the United Republic of Tanzania and engaging in occupations without having valid permits allowing them to do so.
According to the prosecution, Kiran and Bhatt obstructed immigration officers from executing their duties when they refused to report to the Regional Immigration Officer before trying to escape the country through Horohoro Border Post.
The prosecutor also alleged that the two accused, as employees of the company, committed the offences on February 20, this year, at Quality Group Limited in Dar es Salaam's Ilala District. After imposing the said sentences, the magistrate ordered them to follow the required immigration laws if they needed to remain in the country.
Advocate Hudson Ndusyepo, for the accused, had requested the court to forgive his clients because they had no bad faith.
The advocate submitted that his clients had met with immigration officers to seek extension of their visas and handed passports to the authority. After a while, he said, his clients' passports were returned to them with visas, believing that they were genuine.
However, he submitted, his clients came to understand that such visas were illegally obtained when they were arrested and interrogated. The prosecutor, however, informed the court that the accused persons entered the country in 2016 and were granted visas, which were to expire after three months.