Dar es Salaam. Misfortunes never come singly. That aptly sums up businessman Yusuf Manji’s situation after Preident John Magufuli revoked ownership of his 714-acre farm in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam.
It was the latest misfortune to befell Mr Manji, who is in remand after being charged with economic sabotage.
The revocation of ownership of his farm was announced yesterday by the Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr William Lukuvi,who also said the government had repossessed 5,400 acres from Amadori Company Limited.
“These two farms are now owned by the government. People are advised not to invade the land because the government will demolish any structure that will be built illegally on the land,” Mr Lukuvi said.
Mr Manji’s troubles began in February when Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda controversially linked him and several other prominent individuals with drug use and peddling in the region.
He was later charged with using a narcotic drug and was granted bail. But before the dust had settled, the Quality Group Limited chairman was in trouble again, this time the Immigration Department accusing him of employing 25 foreigners who had no valid work permits.
In an apparent reconciliation gesture to the authorities, Mr Manji’s Q-Consult Limited, which is a subsidiary of Quality Group, decided to secede ownership of Coco Beach in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Manji said in a newspaper advertisement that the decision was in compliance with President John Magufuli’s directive that the area be left for public use. He also apologised to President Magufuli for any inconvenience he may have caused.
The Coco Beach matter dates back to 2005 when Kinondoni Municipal Council announced a tender for development of the area. Q-Consult was awarded the tender and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the company and the council in 2007.
However, in 2009, Q-Consult filed a case at the Land Division of the High Court, accusing the council of failing to honour the MoU. The court ruled in the company’s favour.
But following President Magufuli’s directive, the Attorney General’s chambers appealed against the court’s decision.
Mr Manji responded by dropping Q-Consult’s claim of ownership of the coveted beach strip.
He said he had directed his lawyers to pull out of the appeal filed by the AG’s chambers. But the 41-year-old tycoon’s troubles were far from over.
With the Coco Beach issue settled, Mr Manji was charged alongside three people with seven economic and national security counts related to alleged illegal possession of military uniform fabric worth over Sh200 million.
Other charges were illegal possession of government stamps, including three TPDF rubber stamps bearing different addresses, and two motor vehicle number plates. Mr Manji is still in remand.
Earlier this month, Temeke mayor Abdallah Chaurembo wrote to the Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administrations and Local Governments Authorities), notifying him that Mr Manji had automatically lost his seat as Mbagala Kuu Councillor after failing to attend six consecutive full council meetings.
Speaking yesterday, Kigamboni District Commissioner Hashim Mgandilwa said 70 per cent of land in Kigamboni was owned not more than five people.
“Almost 70 per cent of land in Kigamboni is owned by three to five individuals, who have failed to develop it,” he said.
He promised to compile a list of farms in the area which have not been developed and submit it to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development for further action.
Meanwhile, President John Magufuli disbanded the Kigamboni Development Authority.
Mr Lukuvi told Kigamboni residents that the dissolved authority’s responsibilities would be assumed by Kigamboni Municipal Council.