Massive fraud at the DPP’s office as plea bargain money stashed away in China

President Samia Suluhu Hassan speaks at a past event.


What you need to know:

  • Speaking in Dodoma, the President said the government is investigating a bank account in China where money collected from plea bargain agreements in the DPP's Office was stashed away.

Dodoma. The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has come under scrutiny after President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday revealed that much of the money that was collected by the DPP through plea bargaining agreements has no trace.

Speaking in Dodoma, the President said the government is investigating a bank account in China where money collected from plea bargain agreements in the DPP's Office was stashed away.

“Part of the Plea Bargaining funds can be traced, but most of it is not available, if you trace [track] you will be told that there is an account in China," she said.

She did not however state the exact figures of how much was missing and who was the owner of the said offshore account where the money has been stashed.

Under her predecessor, the late Magufuli, billions of shillings were squeezed from businessmen who were facing serious economic crimes in plea bargain deals for the victims to be set free.

On April 28, 2021 the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi told Parliament that between July 2020 and March 2021 the DPP’s office had collected Sh35.07 billion out of 192 cases after the accused pleaded guilty.

However, according to the report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), there was a total of Sh51 billion in state coffers collected though the plea bargaining arrangement as of April, 2021.

The CAG, Mr Charles Kichere is on record as having said that his office was conducting an investigation into the money collected through the plea bargaining arrangement, saying the report would be ready next month (March, 2023).

In June 2021, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said his office was finalising compensation payments from the special accounts that holds monies paid by criminals who plead guilty so that these can be returned to their owners.

The assurance by DPP, Mr Sylvester Mwakitalu came at a time when stakeholders, including lawyers, were questioning the amount paid into the account, calling it an individual account and questioning its use.

The special account at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) was reportedly opened by former DPP Biswalo Mganga for the purpose of receiving and keeping monies paid by defendants who plead guilty in accordance with the plea-bargaining agreement between the two parties.

Why plea bargain?

Tanzania – under the then President John Magufuli - amended its criminal laws in 2019 to introduce, among other issues, the plea bargaining arrangement.
With the rise in the number of unbailable economic sabotage cases during the Magufuli regime, it was deemed fit to put in place an arrangement that would bring the prosecutor and the accused to a negation table.
However, the interesting part of that whole episode was that the plea bargaining arrangement actually started two years before the amendments were passed in Parliament.

Besides, even after endorsing the amendments, implementation continued without putting in place the regulations that would operationalise the law. Regulations were only introduced in February, 2021.


Several known cases have involved plea bargaining deals including that of the owner of Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) Harbinder Seth Singh who agreed to pay Sh26 billion and walked to freedom four years since he was arrested over economic crimes in 2017.

Former president of the Pangea mine, North Mara Mr Deogratius Mwanyika, and six other fellow accused agreed to pay Sh1.5 billion each.

Another known case is that of the director of Mr Kuku Farmer Ltd, Tariq Machibya, famously known as Mr Kuku who agreed to pay Sh5.4 billion as a result of fraud charges.

Journalist Eric Kabendera in February 2020 paid Sh172 million as compensation which he was supposed to clear in six months .

 Kabendera was arrested on charges of money laundering, tax evasion and leading a gang of organized crime.. 

The list also includes former Vodacom Tanzania’s managing director Hisham Hendi and other executives at the telecom firm who walked to freedom after paying about Sh6 billion under plea bargaining arrangement.