THREE senior officials with subsidiary companies of the defunct Acacia Mining have requested the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam to intervene in the delay of investigations into 10trl/- fraud, tax evasion and money laundering trial they are facing.
Deogratias Mwanyika, Asa Mwaipopo and Alex Lugendo told Senior Resident Magistrate in Charge Godfrey Isaya in their letter to the Court, that they have remained in remand for 526 days since their arraignment on October 17, 2018, without any meaningful progress of investigations.
"The investigation has taken too long, while the accused continue to suffer and are denied their rights. It was in the interest of justice that the court directs the prosecution to complete the long standing investigations by specifying a time limit within which to complete investigations," reads part of the letter.
They recalled that at some point the prosecution had indicated that they had completed the local investigations and what was being awaited was mutual legal assistance being sought from a number of countries.
In the court session held before the Dar es Salaam court yesterday, Advocate Hudson Ndusyepo, who is among the defence counsels, requested the court to direct the prosecution to consult the relevant high authorities and come up with tangible answers on the matter on May 22, 2020, when the case resumes.
He also requested the court to allow the accused persons to meet with their defence advocates for face to face briefings on the trial.
The magistrate granted the requests by the accused persons and directed the accused persons to be brought from remand through removal order, on May 22, 2020, for the session.
Mwanyika is President of Pangea Minerals Limited, Bulyanhulu Gold Mine Limited and North Mara Gold Mine Limited, as well as Exploration Minieres Du Nord LTEE; Mwaipopo is Managing Director of the three companies, while Lugendo is Bulyanhulu Company's Relations Manager.
Advocate Hudson Ndusyepo from Prime Attorneys and Alex Mgongolwa are representing Mwanyika in the trial, Advocate Rwekama Rweikiza from FB Attorneys appears for Mwaipopo, Lugendo and four companies, Pangea Minerals Limited, Bulyanhulu Gold Mine Limited and North Mara Gold Mine Limited.
They are facing 39 counts of conspiracy, leading organised crime, forgery and uttering false documents.
The other charges include corrupt transaction, tax evasion of 918,464,427 US dollars (about 1,8tril/-) and money laundering totaling 3,791,194,540 US dollars (about 7.4tril/-).
It is alleged that the accused persons committed the offences between April 2004 and July 2018 at various places in Dar es Salaam, Shinyanga, Mara and Kagera in Tanzania and various places in South Africa, Canada, in Bardados Island and in United Kingdom (UK).
Within the same period and places, Mwanyika, Lugendo and Mwipopo, with other persons not in court, are alleged to have knowingly furnished assistance in the management of business of a criminal racket with intent to reap profit or other benefits.
The same accused persons are charged with forging two loan agreements and a loan confirmation statement purporting Pangea Mineral Limited agreed to borrow 90 million US dollars with interests from Barick International Bank Corp and Exploration Minieres Du Nord LTEE.
It is alleged further that the accused persons also purported to show that Exploration Minieres Du Nord LTEE secured a loan amounting to 6,744,974.62 US dollars from the bank, while they knew such transactions were false.
Within the same period and places, Mwanyika, Lugendo and Mwipopo and other persons not in court, allegedly counselled and facilitated the four mineral companies to acquire or transfer a total of 1,896,007,270 US dollars, which is the proceeds of predicate offences of forgery and tax evasion.
The prosecution alleged that the mineral companies, jointly and together with other persons not in court, acquired and directly engaged in transactions involving the said amount, while they knew or ought to know that such property was the proceeds of forgery and tax evasion offences.