THE prosecution and defence have recorded promising negotiations to end the 350bn/- economic trial through plea bargaining agreement involving prominent businessman and Executive Chairman of the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL), Harbinder Sethi.
This evidenced at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Friday when the trial came for mention. Sethi was brought to the court to continue with the negotiations in question following a request by the prosecution in response to the plea bargaining initiated by him.
After the negotiation session, the parties moved to Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi, who is presiding over the matter, where the prosecution, led by Principal State Attorney Martenus Marandu, requested the court to give them another time before concluding the negotiations.
The trial attorney informed the court that the businessman wrote to the prosecution a letter on June 10, 2021 regarding the matter, of which they needed time to work on it and would report on what would be the position reached and the forward on Monday. Advocate Melchizedeck Lutema, for the businessman, supported such a position.
Under such circumstances, the magistrate adjourned the trial to June 14, 2021 for other necessary orders. In the trial, Sethi is charged jointly with prominent businessman James Rugemalira and Advocate Joseph Makandege with conspiracy, leading organized crime, forgery, uttering false documents, obtaining money by false pretences, occasioning loss to a specified authority and money laundering.
Between October 18, 2011 and March 19, 2014, at various places in Dar es Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania and various places in Republic of Kenya, South Africa and the Republic of India, jointly and together, they allegedly conspired to commit an offence obtaining money by false pretences.
Within the same period in the city of Dar es Salaam, the prosecution alleged, being not public officials but in collusion with public officers, all accused persons intentionally and knowingly managed, financed and furthered the objectives of a criminal racket with intent to reap profit or other benefit.
Between November 29, 2013 and January 23, 2014 at Stanbic Bank Limited, Centre Branch in Kinondoni District and at Mkombozi Commercial Bank PLC, St. Joseph Branch in Ilala District, by false pretences, Rugemalira and Sethi obtained 22,198,544.60 US dollars and 309,461,300,158/27.
The court heard further that on November 29, 2013 at Stanbic Bank Limited, Centre Branch in Kinondoni District, by their willful acts, jointly and together, Sethi and Regemalira caused the government of United Republic of Tanzania to suffer a pecuniary loss of the said amount.
It is alleged that on diverse days between November 29, 2013 and January 23, 2014 at different places in the city, jointly and together, the accused persons conspired to commit an offence of money laundering by acquiring from the Bank of Tanzania the money.
On November 29, 2013 at Stanbic Bank Limited, Centre Branch in Kinondoni District, Sethi acquired the 22,198,544.60 US dollars from the BoT, while he knew at the time of acquisition of the money was the proceeds of the said predicate offence.
The prosecution alleged further that between November 29, 2013 and March 14, 2014 at the same bank, Sethi acquired the 309,461,300,158/27 from BoT, while knowing that such money was the proceeds of a predicate offence of participating in an organized criminal group and racketeering.
It is claimed also that on January 23, 2014 at Mkombozi Commercial Bank, St Joseph Branch in Ilala District, Rugemalira acquired 73,573,500,000/- from Sethi, while he knew at the time of acquisition the money was the proceeds of the said predicate offence.
The court was also told that on the same day at the same bank in Ilala District in the city, Rugemalira acquired from Sethi 22 million US dollars, while knowing that the said money was the proceeds of a predicate offence of participating in an organized criminal group and racketeering.
On his part, Makandege is charged with receiving a sum of 980,000 US dollars illegally at Stanbic Bank in Kinondoni District and UBL Bank (T) Limited in Ilala District between January and February 2014. He is also accused of laundering the said sum