Dar es Salaam. Vodacom Tanzania managing director Hisham Hendi and eight others appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday, facing ten counts, including leading a criminal network and occasioning the government a loss of Sh5.893 billion.
They were also charged with importing, using and installing communication equipment as well as distributing frequency numbers without having proper licences for the business.
Charged along with Mr Hendi were business operations manager from Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd/A Tala Tanzania, Mr Ahmed Ngassa; an IT expert and Kenyan national Brian Lusiola and Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd which is located at Victoria in Dar es Salaam.
The list also includes the head of revenue at Vodacom Tanzania, Mr Joseph Nderitu; the head of legal services at Vodacom Tanzania, Mr Olaf Mumburi, the telecommunication firm’s head of sales, Mr Joseph Muhere and finance manager Ibrahim Bonzo.
Reading the charge sheet before Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi, state attorneys Jackline Nyantori and Wankyo Simon said the nine stand accused of occasioning a loss of Sh5.89 billion to the state-owned Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) under Economic Sabotage Case Number 20/2019.
It was alleged that between January 1, 2018 and March 11, 2019, while in Dar es Salaam, Mr Hendi, Mr Nderitu, Mr Mumburi and Mr Muhere, led a criminal network that resulted in the Sh5.89 billion loss to TCRA.
On the importation of communication equipment, Mr Ngassa, Mr Lusiola and Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd/A Tala Tanzania are accused of committing the crime between January 1 2018 and December 31, 2018 while at Tanzanite Building in Dar es Salaam.
The equipment in question include PROLIANT ML1 Gen 9 SERVER (PABX VIRTUAL MACHINE with secret number 7652Od88838129425), contrary to TCRA’s laws.
During the same time and while at the same location, Mr Ngassa, Mr Lusiola and Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd/ A Tala Tanzania are accused of having installed the communication equipment without securing valid licences from the communications regulator.
According to the charge sheet, the accused started making use of the equipment in making international calls between April 17, 2018 and March 11, 2019, without having valid licenses for the business.
Mr Ngassa Lusiola and Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd/ A Tala Tanzania are also accused of owning the communication equipment in question and making use of telephone numbers without approval from TCRA.
That way, the state charged, the accused were dodging payment of the right costs for making internal calls while also allowing them (international calls) to land on a local destination.
Mr Ngassa, Mr Lusiola and Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd/ A Tala Tanzania, are accused of occasioning a loss of Sh642.276 million between April 17, 2018 and March 11, 2019.
Mr Hendi, Mr Nderitu, Mr Mumburi, Mr Muhere and Bonzo are accused of jointly occasioning a loss a loss of Sh5.25 billion through a crime they allegedly committed between April 17, 2018 and March 11, 2019 while at Vodacom Tanzania’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
The accused were not required to plead to the accusations because the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court does not have the legal jurisdiction to handle economic sabotage cases. The case was adjourned to April 17.