A PROMINENT businessman in Tanzania Ndama Hussein (44) alias Ndama mtoto wa Ng’ombe, has been sentenced to pay a fine of 200m/- for money laundering amounting to 540, 000 US dollars in a transaction involving exportation of minerals worth 16bn/-.
Senior Resident Magistrate, Victoria Nongwa sitting at the Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court ordered the Dar es Salaam based tycoon to spend five years behind bars or pay the fine in question.
The magistrate imposed such a sentence after convicting Mtoto wa Ng’ombe on his own plea of guilty to the money laundering count committed between February 26 and March 31, 2014.
She took into consideration the submissions advanced by the prosecution led by Senior State Attorney, Christopher Msigwa and mitigation factors presented by Advocate Kung’e Wabeya for the businessman.
In his submission, the prosecutor told the court that though they have no previous criminal records of the convict, the offence committed was very serious and with negative economic impact to the government.
Mr Msigwa therefore requested the court to punish the convict severely as per Section 13 (1) (a) of the Anti-money laundering Act in order to serve as a lesson not only to him but also to any other person who will be tempted to commit a similar offence.
According to the Act, whoever is convicted of the money laundering offence is liable to pay a maximum fine of 500m/- but not less than 100m/- or imprisonment of not more than 10 years but not less than 5 years.
However, Advocate Wabeya requested the court to provide a lenient sentence to his client because he was a first offender and by pleading guilty he has saved the court’s time and several people who depend on him.
Magistrate Nongwa reminded the court that the accused is still facing five other charges beside the money laundering which are bailable and issued the conditions.
“Because the fifth count involves fraud and involves over 10m/-, cash, among the conditions for bail will include making a cash deposit of half of 540, 000 US dollars which is equivalent to over 600m/-,” said the Magistrate.
She further pointed out that the deposit can be a bond of an immovable property of the same value as well as availing two reliable sureties with permanent addresses.
Earlier on, Mr Msigwa informed the court that the case came for the preliminary hearing, citing that the facts bared no changes from the previous time but for the sake of records he was going to go through them again.
Reading out the facts, he alleged that on March 6, 2014, in the city, Hussein forged a certificate of clearance from the UN Dar es Salaam Office purporting to show that 207kg of the minerals from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) intended to be exported by Muru company to Trade TJL Limited having being cleared of criminality.
On February 20, 2014, the accused person allegedly made customs declaration form purporting that Muru Company has paid 331,200 US dollars as importation tax to Tanzania Revenue Authority for the said minerals at 8,280,000 US dollars imported from DRC, while it was false.
The prosecution told the court further that on the same day in the city, Hussein forged insurance cover from Phoenix of Tanzania Assurance Company Limited, showing Muru Company had insured the four boxes containing the minerals.
Between February 26 and March 3, 2014, in Dar es Salaam, with intent to defraud, the businessman allegedly obtained from Trade TJL Limited 540,390 US dollars by falsely pretending that he would supply and export the 207kg of the said minerals valued at 8,280,000 US dollars.
The prosecution alleged further that within the same period, Hussein directly engaged himself in a transaction involving money, the sum of 540,390 US dollars, which were proceeds of predicate offense of obtaining money by false pretense.
According to the prosecution, the accused person is alleged to have directed the money to be credited in a bank account held at Stanbic Bank in the name of Muru Platinum Tanzania Investment Company Limited and subsequently withdrawing the sum in cash.