TWO family members, Mehboob Gulamhussein Dharamsi and Marziyaben Mehboob Dharam, have lost their bid to acquire interests on some plots, which were confiscated into government property for being obtained through pyramid scheme arrangements conducted by DECI (Tanzania) Limited.
In a decision given recently, the High Court in Dar es Salaam dismissed the application by the duo, the applicants, who sought for leave to apply for the transfer of an interest on Plots No. 2/2 and 2/3 Block ‘E’ Mabibo area to their names by the Treasury Registrar.
“I therefore find the applicants acted negligently and without diligence in pursuing this matter as rightly submitted by (the prosecution), hence failed to meet the thresholds for the grant of leave as provided under section 16(8) of the Proceeds of Crimes Act (POCA),” Judge Edwin Kakolaki said.
He pointed out that the applicants were duty mandated to establish their interest in the property and establish to the Court’s satisfaction that they did not act negligently in delaying to file the application from May 07, 2019 when the forfeiture order was issued up to August 26, 2020 when it was lodged.
According to the judge, it is not in dispute the applicants are to account for the delay of more than eight (8) months from November 06, 2019 when six months within which to file the application lapsed up to August 26, 2020 when the application was filed.
It was stated by the applicants in their affidavit that they came into knowledge of the forfeiture order when informed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Treasury Registrar’s officers on February 26, 2020.
They, then instructed their lawyers to make a follow up of the copies of proceedings, ruling and drawn order which were supplied to them on March 10, 2020.
The judge pointed out that assuming the period from November 6th, 2019 when the time to lodge the application lapsed up to March 10, 2020, when the necessary documents were obtained after full knowledge of existence of forfeiture order is excluded, still there could have been some problems.
He observed that the period of more than five (5) months from March 10, 2020 up to February 26, 2020 when the application was filed was not accounted for and there was no valid explanation for such inordinate delay.
“This is a clear manifestation and proof of appellants’ negligence in prosecuting this matter which goes against the dictates of the provision of section 16(8) of the POCA, calling for the applicants to satisfy the Court that they acted not in neglect of the law,” the judge said.
In its ruling handed down on May 07, 2019, the Court ordered for forfeiture of all tainted properties applied for to the Government, including landed property in Plots No. 2/2 & 3/2 Block ‘E’ Mabibo, Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam after considering an application lodged by the DPP.
Such forfeiture orders were made against the properties acquired by Shareholders and Directors of DECI (Tanzania) Limited, Jackson Sifael Mtares, Dominick Kigendi, Timotheo Saigaran ole Loitginye and Samwel Sifael Mtares after they were convicted of managing and conducting pyramid scheme.
It appears the applicants who claim to be legal owners of the said property were not aware of the forfeiture order of the Court until February 26, 2020, when approached by officers of the DPP and Treasury Registrar informing them of the confiscation of their property to the Government.
Acting under shock, the applicants instructed their lawyer to make a follow up of the Court’s orders from the DPP’s office and later on court proceedings, ruling and drawn order from the Court, the documents which were supplied to them on March 10, 2020.
Apart from the plots in question, the court had also ordered the forfeiture of cash money in a bank account held at National Microfinance Bank (NMB), Msasani Branch amounting to 12,503,068,647/89.
There was cash money in a bank account held at Dar es Salaam Community Bank (DCB), Uhuru Branch, amounting to 1,457,700,462/49 and other cash money in a bank account held at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Samora Branch amounting to 57,933,404/10.
Other properties include houses and plots, notably three houses, one located at Mwembe Madafu, Ukonga, another at Manzese and the other in Kinondoni Municipality, all in Dar es Salaam and one house situated at Rufiji Street in Mwanza.
There is a Plot located at Forest area in Mbeya, unsurveyed land at Manyinga Village in Mvomero, Morogoro and a Plot located at Tegeta area in Dar es Salaam.
Other properties include 11 motor vehicles of different make, notably Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Terrano, Mitsubishis Pajero, Toyota Mark II, Toyota Ipsum, Subaru Legacy, Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Premio.