Mengi: Here`s the evidence, Rostam
By Lydia Shekighenda
IPP Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi has dismissed corruption allegations levelled against him on Sunday by Igunga legislator Rostam Aziz as untrue, void and baseless.
He countered the charges at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday through his legal counsel, Michael Ngalo of Ngalo & Company Advocates, and IPP Limited Corporate Counsel Agapitus Nguma.
Alongside producing documentary evidence to support his remarks, Mengi posed four questions for the ruling CCM Member of Parliament to answer.
The full text of Mengi`s statement as presented by Nguma raised the following questions:
``In what businesses is Rostam Aziz involved in Tanzania? Under what companies are the businesses? Are the companies registered with BRELA (the Business Registration and Licensing Authority)?
If in the affirmative, is Rostam Aziz listed by name as shareholder/director? Do the companies pay taxes and have they ever contributed financially to social development?
``Rostam Aziz claims he has no relationship with Kagoda (a company implicated in the Bank of Tanzania External Payment Arrears Account scandal).
When he negotiated bank transactions regarding the Kagoda account, in what capacity did he do this?
ďRostam Aziz claims he has no relationship with Dowans. In what capacity did he negotiate with the bank a Dowans bank overdraft?
``He (Rostam) alleges that he has no relationship with Richmond but he claims he knows the individuals involved.
How does he know them and in what circumstances?``
The statement added: ``Tanzanians are not fools as Rostam Aziz may tend to think. Many accuse him of being the pillar of Richmond, Dowans and Kagoda and several other scandals.
``Rostam Aziz has raised false accusations against Mr Mengi. He has also accused him of borrowing from banks.
Rostam Aziz must however remember that the public is accusing him of stealing public monies. We want to tell Rostam Aziz that enough is enough.``
Meanwhile, counsel Ngalo stated that Rostam`s allegations were meant to attack his client (Mengi) as a businessman and his companies.
Ngalo`s statement was partly in response to Rostam`s speech to journalists at the Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
The full text of the counsel`s statement made yesterday:
``To start with, Hon Aziz`s speech was meant to attack Mr Mengi personally as a businessman and also the companies owned by Mr Mengi and of which he is a director.
The attacks were not only constituted of fabricated issues; they were also concoctions of several matters of which he had no knowledge and were full of lies, hatred and instigation meant to weaken the resolve of Mr Mengi and of all people of good intention in the fight against corruption.
``Mr Mengi has very carefully studied Hon Aziz`s speech and has been able to understand and conclude that Hon Aziz has not responded to the principal accusations which confront him, in particular, that he is involved in big events of corruption in the country.
Instead he has unsuccessfully tried to turn the table on Mr Mengi by calling him ``the Whale of Corruption``.
If Mr Mengi is corrupt as Hon Aziz claims, why did he wait until now to make the accusation?
``As a result of Hon Azizís false accusations, which he has circulated via his said speech, Mr Mengi would like to prove the following:
``While it is true that some IPP Group Companies i.e. Bonite Bottlers Limited, ITV-Independent Television Limited, Bodycare Limited and Anche-Mwedu Limited were granted Import Support funds, neither Mr Mengi nor the companies owe the Government under this support.
All Commodity Import Support funds granted to the Companies have long been paid in full, and in support of this statement we tender bank payments evidence of February 2008, TRA receipts, and letter from the Ministry of Finance and Economy confirming full payment of CIS funds granted to IPP Group of Companies.
``Anche-Mwedu Limited ordered a glass manufacturing plant from J. G. Vacuum Flasks Limited of India under the guarantee of NBC. J. G Vacuum Flasks fraudulently supplied unsuitable and scrape materials and demanded payment.
Anche-Mwedu Limited refused to pay J. G. Vacuum Flasks on account of breach of contract but NBC paid J.G Vacuum Flasks to the debit of Anche-Mwedu Limitedís bank account despite Anche-Mwedu Limitedís alert to the NBC.
Anche-Mwedu Limited sued J. G. Vacuum Flasks and NBC among others and NBC had a counter-claim. The High Court ruled that NBC had failed to prove their counter-claim and the judgement of the court still stands and is valid to-date.
Anche-Mwedu Limited does not owe NBC, as you will learn from the High Court`s ruling of 45 pages.
``It seems Hon Aziz does not know and did not want to do even the slightest investigation regarding Mr Mengi`s history as a businessman whose business started way back in the 1970s.
The statement that he got his wealth dubiously between 1984 and 1982 is a baseless concocted lie. Additionally, Hon Aziz has not showed the corrupt source of Mr Mengi`s wealth.
``Hon Aziz has claimed that Mr Mengi and his companies are evaders of payment of taxes, but he has not indicated when and the amount of taxes the payment of which has been evaded. Neither Mr Mengi nor his companies owe any taxes.
ďIt is surprising to hear and read about Hon Azizís allegations that Mr Mengi and his companies are bankrupt and at the same time state that Mr Mengi is investing in new businesses and giving financial assistance to society.
``We would like to reassure Tanzanians that Mr Mengi and his companies are not bankrupt as Mr Aziz would like the case to be and that all funding for social development comes from Mr Mengi`s hard-earned income, the source of which has no smell of corruption as Mr Aziz would like people to believe.
``Hon Rostam Aziz has intentionally circulated lies against Mr Mengi regarding NICOL`s investment in Interchem Pharma Limited.
The truth is that neither Mr Mengi nor NICOL Investment Committee was involved in this investment.
The NICOL Board of Directors decided on the investment without consulting the NICOL Investment Committee, of which Mr Mengi was Chairman.
This decision irked and disturbed Mr Mengi when he learned about it, as a result of which by his letter to NICOL dated 3rd August 2007 he resigned from the Chairmanship and Membership of the Committee.
``Hon Aziz wants to instigate Tanzanians to look at Mr Mengi with hatred on the grounds that he calls other people murderers. But let it be known that Mr Mengi has not judged anybody to be a murderer or accused anyone of such crime.
As it is his right and obligation and that of everyone else to report to the police any threat to his life and the life of anyone else, Mr Mengi reported to the police threats to his life. We present to you evidence of reports given to the police and RB numbers under which they were recorded.
``What we have given at this meeting are just brief clarifications on matters Hon Aziz has used as weapons of attack on Mr Mengi.
The evidence we have given here today is not meant to prove Mr Aziz`s baseless lies only but is also intended to assure Tanzanians and the world at large that Mr Mengi is not corrupt and has never been accused of being involved in corrupt practices which have for some time now been shaking our nation politically, morally and economically.
``Hon Aziz`s ill intention against Mr Mengi is clearly manifested in his lies, sometimes on small but basic issues.
For example, his allegation that Mr Mengi is very much older than Hon Azizís father is incredible. A little research could have revealed Mr Mengi`s age.
``It is our hope that this press release will reveal to Tanzanians Hon Aziz`s lies in his press release on 3rd May 2009 and prevent any slackening of public efforts in the fight against corruption in our country.``
On Sunday the Igunga legislator held a press conference in Dar es Salaam in what he called an effort to put the record straight on grand corruption allegations levelled against him and four people by Mengi. The four had been referred to as ``corruption sharks``.
Rostam fell short of responding convincingly to the charges, only making sweeping defamatory statements against the IPP Executive Chairman. Instead of defending himself, he retaliated by referring to Mengi as to ``corruption whale``.