TANSORT, diamond valuer in court, remanded

16Sep 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
TANSORT, diamond valuer in court, remanded

Tanzania Sorting Company (TANSORT) director Arcad Kalugendo and government diamond valuer Edward Rweyemamu yesterday appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam charged with occasioning loss to the government of more than Sh2bn.

Kisutu Resident Magistrate

Led by State Attorney Paul Kadushi, the prosecution claimed before Resident Magistrate Respicius Mwijage that the accused committed the offence between August 25 and 31 this year at different places in Dar es Salaam and Shinyanga.

It was alleged that on the material day, the accused jointly and together by their willful acts being government valuers employed by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, caused the government to suffer a pecuniary loss of over $1.1bn equivalent to over Sh2.4bn.

The accused were not allowed to enter any plea because the Kisutu Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the cases which are heard at the High Court or when the DPP issues a certificate that allows the lower court to conduct the case.

The prosecution said investigations into the case are not complete and the accused were remanded, with magistrate Mwijage telling defence advocates to seek bail at the High Court.

The defence advocate for Kalugendo, Ludovic Nickson asked the prosecution to speed up investigations, while taking up bail application with the High Court.

On his side, the defence advocate for Rweyemamu, Nehemia Nkoko said that the accused have been in police custody for nearly two weeks the investigation is by and large complete.

The case was adjourned until September 29 with the accused remanded.

Their arrest follows the recent government order to security organs to arrest all people involved in handling precious stones like diamonds and tanzanite and scrutinize properties of current and past top officials in regulatory agencies, STAMICO board and Mwadui diamond mines in Shinyanga to check if they were corruptly acquired.

The directive was issued last week by the Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Philip Mpango, when receiving a report on a diamond consignment seized at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam airport worth Sh32.8bn.

The consignment was later found to have been undervalued as the real price of was pegged at $29.5m (well over Sh60bn).

The consignment which was being hauled to Belgium through the airport aboard a KLM flight was impounded by the police and eventually declared to have been nationalized on account of irregular and unlawful conduct of its processing for export.