Friday, October 23, 2020

Court Convicts Former Tanzania Football President Malinzi for Forgery

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THE Kisutu Resident Magis trate’s Court on Wednesday convicted former Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Jamal Malinzi and his Secretary General Mwesigwa Celestine of forgery. Malinzi and Mwesigwa were sentenced each to pay 50,0/ – fine or go to jail for two years.

Resident Magistrate Maira Kasonde also convicted Mwesigwa of another count of uttering forged document and was given a similar sentence.

However, the magistrate acquitted the duo and two other TFF officials in respect to other charges of money laundering and obtaining over 40m /- fraudulently.

Those acquittals were Accounts Officer Nsiande Mwanga and Flora Rauya, the Clerk with the Federation.

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During the trial, the prosecution led by an officer with the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) Leonard Swai called 15 witnesses.

The prosecution had initially charged the accused persons with a total of 30 counts of forgery, uttering false document, abuse of position, obtaining money by false pretences and money laundering.

Delivering the judgment, however, the magistrate ruled that the prosecution proved only two counts.

Such counts including forging Executive Committee Resolution, purporting to show that the TFF Executive Committee had on June 5, 2016 decided to change the signatory of the Federation’s bank account under which, one Edgar Leonard Masoud would be replaced by Nsiande Isawafo Mwanga.

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The prosecution had told the court that Mwesigwa produced such resolution at S tanbic Bank, Centre Branch to effect the charges of signatories of TF F accounts.

The magistrate agreed with prosecution’s evidence that such agenda on charges of signatories was never discussed by the Committee.

According to him, he could not also doubt the evidence given by two senior officials with the Bank that it was Mwesigwa, who tendered the forged resolution to convince the Bank to make the charges of the signatories.

However, in respect to other offences, including abuse of positions by Malinzi and Mwesigwa in preparing the resolution in que stion, the magistrate pointed out that the prosecution miserably failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove the claim.

He ruled that the evidence tendered could not support the important ingredient of obtaining undue advantage when they prepared the resolution.

Likewise, the magistrate ruled, the offence of obtaining money by false pretences of which, Malinzi was involved was not proved.

According to the magistrate, there was sufficient evidence produced by prosecution witnesses, which acknowledged that at some point in time between 2014 and 2016 Malinzi advanced some loans to the TFF to support different sports activities and there was no proof that he was repaid.

“The accused (Malinzi) tried to recount how he assisted TFF . I agree with the defence that the evidence available shows that he advanced loans to TFF between 2014 and 2016. The money he was paid as indicated in the charges was genuine,” the magistrate ruled.

As regard to money laundering charges against Malinzi, Mwesigwa and Mwanga, the magistrate found that having held that the money advanced to the former TFF boss was genuine, it falls therefore, that they were not the proceed of predicate offence of forging receipt of such payments.

When considering the appropriate sentence to impose to the two TFF ex-officials, the magistrate took into consideration mitigating factors that they have remained in remand for over two years and have several family members that depend on them.

He also took into consideration the motive behind the commission of the offences.

Advocate Nehemia Nkonko had told the court that his clients were forced to make the changes of signatories in order to protect TFF money after FIFA had found Masoud as incompetent to continue holding the position.

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