ELEVEN prominent businesspersons based in Arusha and Dar es Salaam have been arraigned for illegally amassing some 22m US dollars, while knowing they were acting in contravention of the laws of the land.
At the Arumeru District Court, they were charged with 19 different counts of fraud, forgery and conspiracy to steal 21,850,064 US dollars (44 billion shillings).
They are alleged to have climaxed the evil mission by signing cheques worth that amount at Exim Bank, Arusha Branch, purporting to be officials of M & Five B Hotel and Tours Company.
Before Resident Mag istrate in-Charge Deusdedit Kamugisha, the Public Prosecutor, Khalili Nuda, mentioned the accused persons as Larry Lagara (71), Michael Sawe (41), Herman Kiwia (37), Fredrick Massawe (37), Renard Massawe (27), Nuru Juma (37) and Francis Massawe (30) -- all Arusha residents. Others are Beatrice Mtani (40), Tanzanian Tian Xiao Chuni (54) of Chinese origin, Gabriel Makundi (59) and Edwini Karugire (37).
Nuda, who was assisted by Senior State Attorney Innocent Njau, alleged that the accused persons committed the crimes between February 2013 and April 2014 in Arusha and Dar es Salaam regions.
The duo had no objection to bail, but that each of them would have different conditions as the amount of allegedly amassed money differed, and they resided in different places.
The magistrate ruled that the first, eighth and eleventh accused persons would have to deposit 223,642.037 US dollars in cash with the court along with immovable property worth more than the amount of money stolen.
Other accused persons were ordered to deposit any amount beyond 100m/- or US dollars not less than 50,354 if they were to be out on bail. Another condition was that they should not leave the country without the court's permission.
All accused persons denied the counts as the prosecutors said investigations had been completed and asked for a new date for preliminary hearing. The magistrate directed that the hearing should start today. Until we went to press the accused persons were trying to meet bail conditions.