DAR ES SALAAM prominent businessman Ndama Hussein (44), aka “Mtoto wa Ng’ombe (Son of a Cow),” has pleaded guilty to the charge of laundering money amounting to $540,000 (over 1bn/-) in a transaction involving the export of minerals worth 16bn/-.
Mtoto wa Ng’ombe makes history in the country’s judiciary for the simple reason that he’s the first accused person to enter a plea of ‘guilty’ for a money laundering offence since the Money Laundering Act, Number 12; governing the prosecution of such offence was enacted in Tanzania a decade ago.
State Attorney Estazia Wilson, for the prosecution, was yesterday scheduled to present a memorandum of facts for the offence at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in the city. However, Senior Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa, who is hearing the matter, postponed the session to May 24.
The trial attorney informed the court that the prosecution had not completed preparations of the facts because the file from the police, who are still investigating on other offences against the accused persons, has not been presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Under legal procedure, after presentation of facts, the court will proceed to convict the accused person and sentence him. According to section 13 (1) (a) of the Act, the convict is liable to pay a maximum fine of 500m/-, but not less than 100m/- or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, but not less than five years.
The prosecution alleges that between February 26 and March 31, 2014 in the city, being the Chairman and sole signatory of a bank account of Messrs Muru Platinum Tanzania Investment Company Limited, Hussein directly engaged himself in a transaction involving money, the said sum of $540,000. According to the prosecution, the businessman subsequently withdrew such amount in cash in the account held at Stanbic Bank in the name of the company, while he knew or ought to have known, that the sum was proceeds of predicate offence of obtaining money by false pretences.
In respect of other five offences of forgery and obtaining money by false pretences, the businessman has maintained his earlier position of denying any involvement.
Mtoto wa Ng’ombe is charged with forging several documents, including a certificate of clearance from United Nations for exporting minerals worth over 16bn/-. He is alleged to have made a false export permit for minerals and samples of minerals on February 20, 2014 in the city.
He allegedly purported to show that a company called Muru Platinum Tanzania Investment Company Limited was permitted to export four boxes of Gold Nuggets weighing 207kg valued at $8,280,000 to a company based in Australia known as Trade TJL DTYL Limited, while it was untrue.
It is further alleged that on March 6, 2014, in the city, Hussein forged a certificate of clearance from the UN Dar es Salaam Office purporting to show that 207kg of the minerals from Democratic Republic of Congo intended to be exported by Muru company to Trade TJL Limited having been cleared of criminality.
On February 20, 2014, the accused person allegedly made a customs declaration form purporting that Muru Company had paid $331,200 in import tax to the Tanzania Revenue Authority for the said minerals at $8,280,000 imported from DRC, which he knew was false.
The prosecution also told the court that on the same day in the city, Hussein forged insurance cover from Phoenix of Tanzania Assurance Company Limited, showing Muru Company had insured the four boxes containing the minerals.
Between February 26 and March 3, 2014, in Dar es Salaam, with intent to defraud, the businessman allegedly obtained from Trade TJL Limited $540,390 by falsely pretending that he would supply and export the 207kg of the said minerals valued at $8,280,000.