Hai District Commissioner Norman Sigalla speaking on behalf of the Tanzanian government stated on the 10th February 2010, that British investors Srewart Middelton and Sarah Hermitage had stolen the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms, in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.
Sigalla, confirmed statments by Bashiri Shoo that the lease to the farms had been given back to 'patriotic investor' Benjamin Mengi. Sigalla stated that the British investors had stolen the lease from Mr. Mengi when he had taken his wife to the UK in 2004.
Sigalla further confirmed that the investors had forged the lease to the farms and had destroyed the farms by uprooting trees and destoying infrastructure. His comments which were untrue and therefore defamatory, were carried by IPP Media's Radio 1 network throughout the day of 10th February and by IPP Media's ITV television programme.
In 2004, Mengi's comany Fiona Tanzania assigned the lease to the farms to Silverdale Tanzania Ltd. In late 2004, Mengi began negotiating with another British investor Kindrag Legg of Tudeley Estates, to sell the lease a second time. He demanded the lease back from the investors on the basis that he had not been paid in full for the assignment despuite, signing a receipt. When the investors refused, Mengi stated that he would drive the investors out of Tanzania by any means, if necessary, 'cut to pieces in a coffin'.
In 2006, Hon Kileo, dismissed Mengi claims to have the investors evicted from the farms. Mengi brought a further case in the Moshi High Court. This case has not been decided.
Sigalla's offcie of District Commissioner is a goverenment office. Prime Minsister Pinda describes the office of District Commissioners as 'representative of the President... their mandate is from the head of State' .
Sigalla's comments clearly seek to interfere with the judiciary and rule of law in Tanzania and must be seen to be made on behalf of President Kikwete.
The Tanzanian government will now be asked to account for Sigalla's statements.