Tanga. Investigations into accusations facing the owner of Katani Sisal Company, who is also the chairman of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr Salum Shamte, and other senior leaders of the company may take longer than it was thought earlier.
Officers of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) will have first to go to farms and talk to those implicated in a report, said PCCB.
Tanga regional PCCB boss Christopher Mariba revealed this yesterday when speaking to The Citizen. He was asked to state when the suspects would be taken to court.
“Be patient as I cannot say it is Monday or when we will take them to court or which steps we will take against these suspects from Katani Limited. “This is because the process of investigations requires us to go to the farms first and talk to farmers, who have been implicated in the report,” said Mr Mariba.
He said yesterday was their second day they were holding the suspects, who were giving their statements about what they know on the accusations presented to the Bureau. As PCCB and the police continue with their investigations into the accusations facing the suspects, The Citizen has been informed that a group of defence lawyers is expected to arrive in Tanga Region tomorrow.
This was revealed by a relative, who asked not to be named in the paper.
According to the relative, the move comes due to the fact that the suspects’ statements were being taken by state organs in the abscence of lawyers.
Tanga Regional Police Commander Edward Bukombe said it was the legal right of the suspects to have lawyers in all steps including when their statements get recorded.
Mr Shamte and others were arrested on Thursday over allegations of being involved in occasioning the government a loss of Sh54 billion. Tanga Regional Commissioner Martin Shigela ordered PCCB to arrest Mr Shamte, who was recently elected as chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Business Council.
Other people who were arrested alongside Mr Shamte include the current managing director of Katani Limited, Mr Juma Shamte, the director of finance, Mr Fadhili Malima, the company’s public relations officer, Ms Theodora Mtejeta, and the company board member Ms Fatma Diwani.
However, Mr Shamte claimed that the arrest had been made without involving the company management, which has details about how the funds were spent.
Speaking during the meeting to discuss an audit presented by the senior auditor from the Ministry of Finance and Planning on the conflict between farmers and Katani limited, Mr Shamte had said the company had all the documents about the conflict, calling for the review of the audit documents to determine the truth.
“The report has been prepared for the purpose of soiling our reputation. We have served this nation with patriotism. There is no fund which was stolen because Katani Limited has very clean accounts,” he said.