FINANCE Attaché’ at the Tanzanian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Athanas Madebe, appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday charged with 16 counts of fraud, money laundering and occasioning loss of 472,684 US dollars (about 1bn/-).
Apart from money laundering and occasioning loss, other charges against him include forgery of bank statements and debit advice, using documents intended to mislead his principal and stealing by public servants.
He was not allowed to enter plea to the charges before Senior Resident Magistrate Rashid Chaungu because they fall under the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act.
The accused was remanded until January 14, 2020 when the case will be mentioned, as investigations are incomplete.
Prosecuting, trial attorneys, Wankyo Simon, Wisdom Mlakano and Eliah Athanas told the court that the accused is alleged to have forged the said documents between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016, as well as between February 25 and 28, 2017.
It is alleged that within the same period at the Tanzanian Embassy offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, being an employee with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, by false pretences and with intent to defraud, Madebe forged seven bank statements of a bank account.
Such an account, according to the prosecution, is maintained by the Embassy of Tanzania at Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
The prosecution alleged that the accused purported to have shown that the bank account had a balance of 472,787.91 US dollars, a fact which he knew to be false.
The court heard further that Madebe forged three debit advices, purporting to show that the bank account was debited 157,618.5 US dollars and 156,000 US dollars was transferred from the account to special purpose account maintained at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in Dar es Salaam, while it was untrue.
It is alleged further that on February 28, 2017 at the Tanzanian Embassy offices in Addis Ababa, with intent to deceive his principal, knowingly and intentionally, the accused wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry containing false information.
The prosecution told the court that the information related to amount the of 236,000 US dollars out of 472,684.09 US dollars from the African Union Peace Fund was credited into the special purpose account maintained by the BoT, a fact which he knew to be false.
It is also alleged that on diverse dates between May 3 and August 31, 2019 at the Tanzanian Embassy offices in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, being an employee of the Ministry as Finance Attache’, Madebe stole a sum of 15,752.2 US dollars and 289,900 Ethiopian Dirr (ETD), property of the government of Tanzania.
On money laundering, Madebe was charged that on diverse dates between May 3 and August 31, 2019 at the Tanzanian Embassy in Addis Ababa, he acquired 15,752.20 US dollars and 289,900 ETD, while he knew at the time of acquisition that such money was proceeds of predicate offence of forgery.
It is alleged that between April 5, 2013 and June 30, 2015 at the Tanzania Embassy in Ethiopia, being employee of the Ministry, by his wilful acts, jointly and together with other persons not in court, Madebe caused the government to suffer pecuniary loss of 472,684.09 US dollars.
The prosecution told the court further that such money came into possession of the Finance Attache’ by virtual of his employment with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.