Dar es Salaam — Former managing director of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) David Mattaka and co-accused have been ordered to pay a Sh35 million fine each or serve six years in jail after they were convicted of occasioning the government Sh1 billion in loss.
The Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court also convicted former ATCL's acting chief accountant Elisafi Mathew alongside Mattaka.
The court set free the national carrier's former head of internal audit department, Mr William Haji, saying prosecution had failed to prove charges against him.
Senior Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa also ordered the convicts to pay $143,442.75 (about 315.5 million) as compensation to ATCL in one month for purchasing the 26 used vehicles.
The trio were arraigned in November 2011 and charged with abuse of office after they were accused of failing to properly keep financial records for the company and for purchasing used vehicles for Sh 1 billion.
A prosecutor from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Mr Ben Lincoln, told the court that the accused persons committed the offences between June and July in 2007 after they failed to keep tender records for the purchase of 26 vehicles.
The PCCB prosecutor further charged that the three ATCL officials jointly failed to observe regulations guiding public procurement between July 2 and August 23 in 2007.
He told the court their failure to observe public procurement regulations led to the purchase of the 26 vehicles worth $809.3 million from a Dubai-based company.
In another count, the PCCB prosecutor alleged that between July 2 and August 2007, Mattaka acting as ATCL managing director abused his office by authorising the purchase of the vehicles without floating a tender.
Mr Lincoln further charged that the former ATCL boss authorised the purchase of the vehicles without the knowledge of the firm's tender board which was contrary to the law that guides procurement procedures.