Ex-DART boss, three others charged in court

26Feb 2016
Karama Kenyunko
The Guardian
Ex-DART boss, three others charged in court

The former chief executive officer of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) project, Asteria Mlambo, and three other people were yesterday arraigned before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court on charges of commissioning a loss of 83.5 million/- to the government.

Asteria Mlambo

Also appearing before principal resident magistrate Respicious Mwijage were two other DART ex-officials - director of finance Evodius Katale and principal legal officer Francis Kugesha – along with local businessman Yuda Mwakatobe who owns Yukan Business Co. Ltd.

The lead prosecutor, state attorney Jacqline Nyantori, alleged that between September 1 and October 31, 2013, the three DART officials failed to discharge their duties diligently, hence caused the project to suffer a total pecuniary loss of 83,564,367/-.

It was also alleged that on June 26, 2004, Mwakatobe presented false and forged documents to Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officers at the Ilala regional tax office, intended to mislead the officers in how much tax his company (Yukan Business Co. Ltd) really owed.

Again, on March 26, 2005 at the same place, Mwakatobe presented another set of forged documents to TRA officers which prompted an undeserved tax reduction for his company, the prosecutor said.

Investigations into the case are still going on and it will come up for further mention on March 9. Magistrate Mwijage ordered each DART ex-official to produce immovable property worth at least 14m/-, plus one surety from the government or any recognize institution who would sign a 15m/- bond, before granting them bail.

Mwakatobe, meanwhile, was told to bring one surety from the government or any recognized institution who would sign a bond of 5m/-.

The DART project was launched with the aim of introducing a rapid bus transportation system to the congested city of Dar es Salaam at an estimated total cost of $290m awarded by the World Bank in two installments of $190m in 2003 and $100m in 2012.

The project would involve the deployment of 148 Chinese-made Golden Dragon buses with a capacity of 140 passengers each, and an additional 100 buses with 60-passenger capacities to ferry commuters from feeder stations to the main DART channels.

The DART project was scheduled to take off earlier this year, but remains stuck todate pending the sorting out of various implementation snags that have emerged, including the issue of bus fares.