Acacia Mining ex-heavyweight Deo Mwanyika lands in court

18Oct 2018
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Acacia Mining ex-heavyweight Deo Mwanyika lands in court

FORMER Acacia Mining Plc vice-president (corporate affairs) Deogratius Mwanyika (56) and Bulyanhulu Gold Mine chief advisor (government relations) Alex Lugendo (46) were yesterday arraigned before the Kisutu resident magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam to answer to 39 charges including money launder

Former Acacia Vice President Deogratius Mwanyika (R) and Bulyanhulu mining Public Relation manager Alex Kugendo have seat ed at Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court yesterday facing 39 counts including economic sabotage. Photo: Courtesy of ITV

Prosecuting principal state attorney Faraja Nchimbi alleged before senior resident magistrate Kevin Mhina that the two suspects also committed crimes of conspiracy, forgery, corruption, and presentation of fake documents to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

Nchimbi He stated that the suspects, along with others not present at court yesterday, committed the offenses at different places in Dar es Salaam, Kahama (Shinyanga region), Tarime-Mara, and Biharamulo in Kagera region between the dates of April 11, 2008 and June 30, 2017.

Similar offences were also committed by the suspects in Johannesburg, South Africa; Toronto, Canada; and the United Kingdom, the lead prosecutor said.

It was alleged in court that while overseas, Mwanyika and Lugendo conspired with several others not arrested yet to prepare fake documents with the intentions of evading lawful tax payments.

They are said to have engineered the unlawful tax evasion plans for their personal gain.

According to Nchimbi, between May 16 and December 31, 2008, in Kahama and Biharamulo districts, the two suspects presented fake documents to the TRA commissioner general and thereby denied the government taxes amounting to $9,309,600.

They also allegedly assisted authorities at the North Mara Gold Mine to transfer a total of $374,243,943 million with the intention of evading tax payments.

Between November 2012 and November 2015, Mwanyika and Lugendo are alleged to have given a bribe of over 719 million/- to Shinyanga regional crime officer (RCO) Hussein Kashindye as an inducement for him to drop various criminal investigations against the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine.

It was also stated that on April 30, 2014, the suspects sent a forged document to TRA indicating that Pangea Limited had secured a $900,000,000 loan from Barrick International Bank Corp.

They also allegedly presented fake documents to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) indicating that Bulyanhulu Gold Mine secured a loan worth $416,100,000 from Barrick International Bank Corp in December 2007.

The case will come up for mention on October 31, pending completion of ongoing investigations.

In August this year, Acacia Mining confirmed that the long-swerving Mwanyika had officially left the company.

According to a statement from the company’s chief executive officer Peter Geleta, Mwanyika had been with Acacia Mining for 17 years after joining one of its predecessors, Kahama Mining Corporation, as chief legal counsel.

He was replaced on an interim basis by Rachel English, one of Acacia's non-executive directors.

Last year, the government accused Acacia of understating its gold production figures and seized its containers of gold and copper concentrate set for export.

This was followed by TRA slapping a $190 billion unpaid tax bill on the company. Its majority shareholder Barrick Gold Corp. then intervened to strike a deal with the government that was supposed to end the taxes and mineral sands row.