Judegment Day At The High Court London

Judegment Day At The High Court London
Mengi v Hermitage: Libel Claim Successfully Defended

Saturday, 15 August 2009



In May 2004 Benjamin Mengi (brother to IPP Media owner and Chief Executive Officer Reginald Mengi) and his wife Millie Mengi through their company Fiona Tanzania Ltd, assigned the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms in the Hai District of the Kilimanjaro Region, to Silverdale Tanzania Ltd a company in which British investor Stewart Middelton owned a controlling interest.

In April 2005, Mengi demanded the lease back claiming he had not been paid in full despite having signed a receipt. When Middleton refused, a campaign of violence, harassment intimidation and vexatious court proceedings were unleashed against the investor, his staff and his wife, ending in death threats and threats of beheadings leading them to flee the country on 14th February 2008.

Three days after the investors fled for their lives, Benjamin Mengi and Anold Kimaro, together with Askaris armed with truncheons and hunting knives accompanied by members of the Moshi Police, came to the main gate of Silverdale Farm.

Mengi cut the lock to the main gate and evicted the investor’s staff from the farm. Mengi then brought tractors to the farm and ploughed 100 acres which he then sub-let to the Board Members of the Kyeri, Shari and Uswa Mamba co-operative societies who were fully aware that Mengi did not own the lease to the farms having approved the assignment in writing and having accepted rent from the British investor.

On or around 27th February 2008, Benjamin Mengi, broke into the investors house with his staff member and several armed Askaris. He cut the lock to garden gate and forcibly entered the house and removed items of the investor’s property including their personal computer, a cooker, printer and various household items. Mengi admitted the theft to the police and boasted that he had accessed all the investor’s personal data on the computer and had made it available to President Kikwete at State House. Despite Mengi’s admission to the criminal conduct and four witnesses statements Regional Police Commander Ng'hoboko has stated to the British Government that he will not charge Mengi for the theft as ‘…..he is looking after the property for the investors whilst they were out of the country’. Nghoboko has not spoken to the investors. What is clear is that Ng’hoboko is complicit, together with the government of Tanzania in affording Benjamin Mengi and his associate’s clear immunity from criminal liability.

There can be no clearer evidence by this latest abuse by the police and the Tanzania government’s refusal to address Mengi’s criminal conduct, that the investors had no choice than to leave the country to protect their lives. For four years, the Tanzanian government has ignored the British governments requests for a fair resolution of this case. The Tanzanian High Commissioner to UK Mwanaidi Majaar stated to the BBC in February 2008 that, ‘ the investors had left the country of their own free will and not because of any threats’. The High Commissioner has never met the investors. The Tanzanian government refuse to register the investor’s lease in accordance with the laws of Tanzania.

Mr. Middleton has been arrested twice and imprisoned once for charges that do not exist under the Penal Code of Tanzania. On his second arrest, Mr. Middleton was thrown into a public cage outside of the High Court in Moshi whilst Mengi and RPC Kighondo laughed. At no time, has the Tanzanian government taken any steps to apply the rule of law to Mengi’s behaviour. Former Minister of Justice Dr. Mary Nagu stating she ‘…wished to resolve the matter in a manner that protected the Mengi family name’. Cleary, that has been done as Mengi has now unlawfully invaded the farms using Zimbabwe style tactics being condoned by the Tanzanian government.

This video shows British Investor Sarah Hermitage trying to prevent her property Silverdale Farm in Moshi by being invaded by Mengi's staff and armed thugs. The video shows Mengi’s vehicle and his staff and Askaris armed with hunting knifes and coshes. They can be seen to make threatening moves towards the investor as she struggles to defend her property.

The men had just cut the locks to the gates of the farm and entered the property. They had committed aggravated burglary, criminal damage and assault by entering the farm. The regional police commander refused to attend the scene having been requested to do so by the investors and the British High Commissioner to Tanzania Philip Parham.

The investor struggles with the situation unaided. Earlier that day, Benjamin Mengi had by corruption obtained an illegal court order from Moshi Magistrate's court that he and anyone he chose could enter the farms day or night to attend to cattle he was keeping illegally on the farm. The court order also stated that British investor Stewart Middelton could not graze Massai cattle on Silverdale Farm. If Stewart Middelton was seen to assit his wife therfore, he would have been arrested by the Moshi police on the basis of the corrupt and illegal curt order obtained by Mengi.

The men on the video when seen to leave, are not in fact leaving. They drove to the end of the farm, rounded up Massai cattle from outlying areas, mixed them with Mengi's cattle and drove them onto the farm through Sarah Hermitage whilst threatening her again with violence. The following day, Mengi sought aN arrest warrant for Stewart Middleton on the basis thaT there were Masaai cattle in the farm and that hehad breached the corrupt court order.

Mengi remains in control of Silverdale Farm. 14th August 2009


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