Managing Directors of Viettel Tanzania PLC (Halotel) and Zanzibar Telecom PLC (Zantel), Le Van Dai and Sherif El-Barary, respectively, were yesterday arraigned alongside eight others to face 12 economic related charges, including occasioning a loss of over 1.2bn/- to the government.
Before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, other accused persons apart from Dai, a Vietnamese and El-Barary, an Egyptian, were Lei Cao, alias Peter and Huang Yu Meng, both Chinese, who are Operation Managers with Shunhe Company Limited.
Also, others are Jimmy Mosha, a Business Supervisor with Halotel Zanzibar, Willy Ndoni, a Marketing Manager with Halotel, Viettel Tanzania PLC (Halotel) and Zanzibar Telecom PLC (Zantel).
They were not allowed to enter plea to the charges because they fall under the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act.
The case will be tried by the High Court’s Economic, Corruption and Organised Crime Division. All accused persons were ordered to go to remand until June 20, when the case will be mentioned.
Other counts against the accused are conspiracy to commit an offence, fraudulent use of network facility, importation and installation of electronic communication equipment without a licence and operating network facility without a licence.
The rest of the charges include use of unapproved electronic equipment connected to electronic communication networks service, use of unregistered sim cards and causing use of unregistered sim cards.
Prosecuting, Senior State Attorney Jacqueline Nyantori, for the prosecution, told the court that all accused, except the two companies, conspired to commit offence of fraudulent use of network facility on unknown dates between January1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 in United Republic of Tanzania.
It is alleged that between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 at Spring City Building, Mbezi Africana area in Kinondoni District, the said accused unlawfully created a system designed to fraudulently use or obtain Halotel and Zantel network services.
According to the trial attorney, who was assisted by other Senior State Attorneys Nassoro Katuga and Patrick Mwita, the accused intended to avoid rates payable for International Incoming and Outgoing Messages by terminating such messages using unlicensed gateways.
It is alleged that between January 1 and December 31, 2017 in the city, Cao and Meng imported into Tanzania electronic equipment, which are 44 Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Gateways with no serial numbers and without licence issued by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
It is alleged that between May 1 and December 31, 2017, at Spring City Building, Mbezi Africana area, the same accused installed and maintained the VOIP GSM without securing a licence from the Authority.
The same accused, according to the prosecution, between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, at Spring City Building, Mbezi Africana area, used 17 VOIP GSM Gateways and other 19 VOIP GSM Gateways connected to Halotel and Zantel network services, respectively, without approval of TCRA.
It is alleged further that the same accused unlawfully operated an international gateway to receive and transmit telecommunication traffic with TCRA’s licence within the same period and that knowingly used unregistered 281,272 sim cards of Halotel and other 11,920 sim cards of Zantel.
The court was told that Dai, Mosha, Ndoni and Halotel Company knowingly caused the use of unregistered 281,272 sim cards of Halotel at Halotel Branches in Zanzibar and Mbeya, while El-barary and the Zantel Company caused the use of unregistered 11,920 sim cards of Zantel within the time.
It is alleged that between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, jointly and together and by their wilful acts, Dai, Cao, Mdeng, Mosha, Ndoni and Halotel Company caused the government of Tanzania and TCRA to suffer a pecuniary loss of 626,572,400/-.