14 October 2017

Tanzania: Court Orders Provision of Malinzi Case Probe Status

The Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday ordered the prosecution to provide proper position of investigations in the trial of top three officials with the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), facing fraud and 800m/- money laundering charge.

"You should give the status of investigation when the case comes for mention on October 27 and if possible proceed with conducting the preliminary hearing of this case," Principal Resident Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri, directed the prosecution.

He was reacting to concerns by Advocates Richard Rweyongeza and Abraham Senguji, on the position given by the Prosecutor with the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), that investigations were complete on their part and the case file has been taken to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In response to such position, however, Rweyongeza told the court that such line of argument was not new, as even in the previous court session a similar position was given by the same prosecution.

He argued that they get difficulties in knowing what was happening on the part of DPP. "What we can remember, the prosecution had promised to make a follow up to the DPP.

Under such circumstances, we pray for a very short adjournment so that we can know the status of this case. It appears this is very special case, as we are even denied the rights of meeting with our clients," he said.

Similar arguments were raised by Senguji, adding that he had made follow-ups on what is happening with the DPP's office, but he notices there was nothing forthcoming. He, therefore, pressed for shorter adjournment to put up a pressure for the DPP to expedite the process.

However, PCCB Prosecutor, Leonard Swai, responded that it is true that all the parties want the hearing of the case to take off the soonest possible. But he was quick to point out that the DPP needs enough time to go through the file before giving his directives on how to go about the matter.

Lawyers say that three things could happen when the prosecu tion's case file is taken to the DPP. He may draw new charges for prosecution of accused persons depending on the evidence presented to him.

Furthermore, the DPP could return the case file to the investigative machinery with directives of carrying out further investigations on some aspects or enter nolle prosequi certificate in favour of the accused persons if the evidence brought before him was insufficient to mount their prosecution.

Nolle prosequi is a legal term or phrase meaning 'be unwilling to pursue,' a phrase amounting to 'do not prosecute' used in many common law criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges either before trial or verdict.

In the trial, the accused persons, former TFF President Jamal Malinzi, his Secretary General Mwesigwa Selestine and Accounts Officer with the federation, Nsiande Mwanga, are facing a total of 28 counts.

On June 5, last year, in the city, with intent to defraud or deceit, Malinzi and Selestine allegedly forged an Executive Committee Resolution, purporting to show that the TFF Executive Committee decided to change the signatory of the Federation's bank account.

Such changes, according to the prosecution, had the effect that one Edgar Leonard Masoud would be replaced by Nsiande Isawafo Mwanga. The court heard further that on September 1, 2016, at Stanbic Bank Tanzania Limited, Stanbic Center Branch in Kinondoni District, knowingly and fraudulently, Selestine uttered the false Executive Committee Resolution.

The prosecution told the court further that between November 6, 2013 and September 22, 2016, at TFF Offices in Ilala District, with intent to defraud, Malinzi forged 23 receipts bearing different numbers and money in US dollars, purporting that he had lent the federation loan of such amount, while it was false.

It is alleged that between September 1 and October 19, 2016, within the city of Dar es Salaam, jointly and together, all the three accused persons conspired to commit an offence of money laundering by acquiring the said 375,418 US dollars.

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