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Court rejects illegible document in 1bn/-economic crime case

THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday rejected a crucial document as evidence for prosecution into 1bn/-economic and organised crime and abuse of position trial facing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Line project estimated at 15tril/-.

Such document is a Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) investigation report on review of the project bidding process under which the prosecution has sought to tender in evidence to support the trial of three accused persons.

However, Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba ruled in favour of the trio, Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) former Director General Engineer, Benhadard Tito, ex-RAHCO Company Secretary, Emanuel Massawe and businessman Kanji Mwinyijuma, said such document was inadmissible.

The magistrate gave such decision after going through competing submissions presented by the prosecution, led by an officer from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Magela Ndimbo and Advocate Peter Kibatala and Jeremia Ntobesya, for the accused persons.

He pointed out that a prosecution witness, Dr Laurence Shirima, who is PPRA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), had told the court before producing the intended exhibit that the document was received by his office, and later stamped, thus, he could easily identify the same through the seals.

According to him, having closely scrutinised the document in question, the Magistrate also found that the seals alleged to have been stamped on the document were illegible and that it was uncertain where it came from.

"The document is supposed to have been sealed on every page, but even when it was sealed, the seal is illegible. The witness said he identified the document because of the seal, but it is an illegible.  It is unknown where this document came from. The court refuses to accept this exhibit," he ruled.

Following the ruling, the magistrate adjourned the trial to April 1, 2020 for continuation of the hearing. In the trial, the accused persons are alleged to have committed the offences between 2014 and 2015.

The accused are charged with conspiracy, abuse of position and occasioning over 1bn/-loss in transactions relating to upgrade of the railway. They allegedly conspired to commit offence under Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act between September 1, 2004 and September 30, 2015.

It is alleged that on February 27, 2015, at RAHCO offices in Ilala District, while discharging his duties, being the Managing Director of the Company, Eng. Tito intentionally abused his position by procuring Rothschild (South Africa) Proprietary Limited.

According to the prosecution, such company was procured as transaction advisor for the project to upgrade the Central Line Corridor Railway in Tanzania by single source method without a prior approval of RAHCO Tender Board, an act which was in violation of Procurement Act.

THE government has embarked on the process to ...

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Author: FAUSTINE KAPAMA

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