THE prosecution has thrown the ball to defence to make a follow up on the legal impact on the 10tril/-trial involving officials associated with the defunct Acacia Mining Limited following the signing of mineral deal agreements by the government of Tanzania with Barrick Gold Corporation.
Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon, for the prosecution, advised the advocates for accused persons to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and raise their concerns, if any, on whether the agreements signed affected the pending fraud, tax evasion and money laundering trial.
“Let them write to the DPP to make follow ups on the matter and not vest such duty to the prosecution. We have nothing to suggest about the matter. What we know is that the investigations in the trial are going on,” the trial attorney told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Friday.
He was responding to submissions presented by Advocate Rwekamwa Rweikiza in the last court session, who had told Senior Resident Magistrate Godfrey Isaya that the case had a direct bearing impact with the signed agreements.
According to the lawyer, three individual persons who are facing the trial, are employees of the mining companies owned by Barrick, which are also among the accused persons in the economic trial.
These are 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, Managing Director of the three companies Asa Mwaipopo and Bulyanhulu Company’s Relations Manager Alex Lugendo.
“The government of Tanzania and Barrick has resolved the mining dispute by establishing Twiga Minerals Corporation, under which Tanzania is a shareholder. Furthermore, there are negotiations going on with a view of dropping all pending cases filed as a result of the dispute,” the lawyer said.
Under the circumstances, Advocate Rweikiza requested the court to direct the prosecution to follow up on the matter and come up in the next court session (that is yesterday) with actual status of the negotiations, instead of information relating to incomplete investigations.
In Friday’s proceedings, the defence counsel responded that they would work on the advice by the prosecution, but he was quick to point out that they should be informed of any new development that would occur before the next court session.
The magistrate adjourned the case to February 28 for another mention. In the case, the accused persons are facing a total of 39 counts of conspiracy to commit offences, leading organised crime, 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 the United Kingdom (UK).
Within the same period and places, Mwanyika, Lugendo and Mwaipopo 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 Barrick 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 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 forgery and tax evasion offences.
It was alleged that between April and December 2008 in Dar es Salaam, Mara, Kagera and Shinyanga Regions, all accused persons jointly and together with other persons not in court, evaded to pay a total of 918,464,427 US dollars as withholding tax to the Tanzania Revenue Authority Commissioner General.
Mwanyika, Lugendo and Bulyanhulu Gold Mine were charged with an additional count of corrupt transaction, an offence allegedly committed between November 2, 2012 and November 27, 2015 at various places within the city of Dar es Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania.
The court heard that the three accused persons, jointly and together with other persons not in court, gave 718,520,001/76 as corruption to Hussein Kashindye, the then Regional Crime Officer of Shinyanga Region by depositing the amount into his account maintained at NMB Bank, Kibondo Branch.
Such bribe, the prosecution further alleged, was an inducement to Kashindye for him to forebear investigation of criminal activities committed by Bulyanhulu Gold Mine.