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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Foreign minister gave me power of attorney - Mahalu

1st March 2012
Former Tanzanian ambassador to Italy, Prof Costa Mahalu

Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday heard that Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister gave power of attorney to former Tanzanian ambassador to Italy, Prof Costa Mahalu to purchase an embassy building in Rome.

Prof Mahalu revealed this when giving his defence as first witness before principal resident magistrate Ilvin Mgeta in a corruption case he faces along with his former assistant, Grace Martin.

He said that on September 2001, he received a special power of attorney from then Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Jakaya Kikwete, as ambassador in Rome authorizing him to purchase the embassy building.

He added that, after the purchasing the building, he wrote a letter to the former minister attached with documents of purchasing the building that showed that the price of the building was euro 3,098,741.58.

Mahalu continued to say that copies of the documents were sent to the permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs ministry and other government officials.

According to the charge sheet, it is alleged that on September 23, 2002 at the Tanzanian embassy in Italy, being persons in the service of the Tanzanian government, knowingly and with intent to deceive, the accused used payment vouchers containing false particulars that the embassy building in Rome cost euro 3,098,741.58.

It was alleged that the accused on October 1, 2002 at the embassy used a sales contract dated September 1, 2002, claiming that the purchase price was for the mentioned sum, and that the vendor of the building had received the money.

The prosecution further alleges that on the same date and place the accused stole euro 2,065,827.60.

In his testimony, Mahalu denied all the charges and insisted that there were two contracts that the government authorized.

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