Dar’s ‘Mr Kuku’ lead investor charged with Sh17 billion fraud

Tuesday August 11 2020

Tariq Machibya (29) popularly known as Mr Kuku,

Tariq Machibya (29) popularly known as Mr Kuku, is in the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court, after being read a case of economic sabotage with seven charges including running an illegal business PHOTO|HADIJA JUMANE 

Dar es Salaam. A city businessman Tariq Machibya, 29, alias ‘Mr Kuku’ was yesterday charged with running a pyramid scheme and illegally collecting Sh17 billion from the public on promise of lucrative returns.

Prosecution told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday that Mr Machibya collected the money from the public on promise that the money would be invested in his poultry farming project, Mr Kuku Farmers Limited, at Kigamboni area of Dar es Salaam. He allegedly operated without a licence, the court heard.

Individuals who invested their money in the project were promised an interest of 40 per cent in four months of the initial capital invested. Those who invested their money for six months were promised to receive a 90 per cent interest of their investment, an amount the prosecution said could not be repaid considering the huge collections. The accused will remain in custody for an unknown period as he was also facing the unbailable money laundering offence.

Machibya was not allowed to enter plea because the court has no jurisdiction to try the offence. The charges against him were read by Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon before resident magistrate-in-charge, Godfrey Isaya. The businessman, it was said, laundered Sh1.9 629 billion by withdrawing it from Mr Kuku Farmers Limited account while knowing the money was a proceed of a pyramid scheme.

Mr Simon further told the court that the accused was involved in another transaction of $107,893 which was deposited in Mr Kuku Farmers Limited’s account with a local bank.

He is also alleged to have done similar transactions involving $146,300 at a different branch of the same bank.

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Prosecution told the court that investigations into the case have not been completed and the court set August 25, 2020 for another mention of the case.

The arrest of Machibya sent investors who had pumped their money into the chicken rearing project into panic as they were unsure of the safety of deposits.