Harbinder Singh Sethi, a business tycoon born in Iringa, Tanzania facing 12 counts of money laundering charges and occasioning loss of over Sh358 billion to the government, is spending sleepless nights at the Keko remand prison because he is sick, his lawyer told a Dar es Salaam court yesterday.
Advocate Alex Balomi, representing Sethi, told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court that his client was seriously sick and his condition was fast deteriorating.
Sethi, executive chairman of Pan African Power Solution (PAP) and James Rugemalira of VIP Engineering and Marketing were charged last month with economic crimes, including money laundering and occasioning the over Sh358 billion loss to the government.
The duo were paid out funds meant for Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL), a power generating firm, in a disputed environment as to who was eligible to be paid in the contract to supply electricity to the state-owned energy provider Tanesco.
Balomi told Senior Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi that Sethi needed close attention by medical experts because he was suffering from “a swelling stomach.”
The lawyer said that this was the fourth week since Sethi started failing to get sleep because of his medical condition, asking the court to allow him submit medical documents from his client.
However, Leonard Swai, a prosecutor from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) protested the submission of the purported medical documents saying the move did not comply with legal procedures.
At the same time, Magistrate Shaidi ordered prison authorities to ensure that the health of Sethi remained good.
The duo who were first arraigned on June 19 and were remanded in prison because money laundering offenses are not bailable according to the law.
The court adjourned the case to July 28.
The two tycoons are also facing economic sabotage charges relating to causing the government a loss of $22, 198, 554 and Sh309, 461, 300, 158, between October 18, 2011 and March 19, 2014.
The prosecution charged that Sethi forged a company registration certificate on October 2011 and lied that he was a Tanzanian resident living in Masaki area while knowing that both claims were not true.
Both the accused were said to have illegally withdrawn $22,198,554.60 and Sh309.461 billion from the escrow central bank account. The offences were committed between November 28/29, 2011 and January 23, 2014 at the Stanbic Bank headquarters in Kinondoni.
In respect of the money laundering counts, the duo are alleged to have in different dates between year 2013 and 2014 withdrawn US$ 22,198,544.60 and Sh309,461,300.27 from different accounts at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), Stanbic Bank Tanzania and Mkombozi Bank St Joseph’s Cathedral branch.
The accused allegedly withdrew the money while knowing that the money is the fruit of the predicate offenses, the prosecution intoned. It was further alleged that, in January 28, 2014 at the Stanbic Bank, Mr Seth transferred Rand 1,305,800 to Standard Bank at Sandton Johannesburg.