THE prosecution has requested for more time to complete investigation into 10tril/- fraud, tax evasion and money laundering trial involving seven people, including senior officials with four subsidiary companies of Acacia Mining Limited.
Prosecutor, State Attorney Wankyo Simon, told Senior Resident Magistrate Kelvin Mhina at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday that certain foreign countries have not responded to the mutual legal assistance on areas the prosecution had applied. “We have not yet received their response.
Under the circumstance, we request this court to set another mention date as the investigations for that matter have not been completed,” the trial attorney submitted. The magistrate granted the request and adjourned the trial to May 30, 2019.
Before adjournment of the trial, Advocate Gasper Nyika, for the accused, asked the prosecution to be more specific on the matter on whether steps have already been taken by them to obtain the assistance sought from abroad, as blanket statements being given are not acceptable.
When adjourning the trial, the magistrate directed the prosecution to expedite the investigation process and directed them to come up with tangible answers on the matter in the next court session.
A mutual legal assistance treaty is an agreement between two or more countries, of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws. Modern states have developed mechanisms for requesting and obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.
When evidence or other forms of legal assistance, such as witness statements or service of documents, are needed from a foreign sovereign nation, states may attempt to cooperate informally through their police agencies or, alternatively, resort to what is typically referred to as requests for “mutual legal assistance”.
The accused persons into the matter include President of Pangea Minerals Limited, Bulyanhulu Gold Mine Limited and North Mara Gold Mine Limited, as well as Exploration Minieres Du Nord LTEE, Deogratias Mwanyika and Managing Director of the three companies, Asa Mwaipopo.
Others are Bulyanhulu Company’s Relations Manager, Alex Lugendo and the four mineral dealer companies.
They are facing a total of 39 counts of conspiracy to commit offences, leading organised crime, and forgery of documents 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 Barbados 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 counseled and facilitated the four mineral companies to acquire or transfer a total of 1,896,007,270 US dollars, which are 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.