Judegment Day At The High Court London

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

Thursday, 11 March 2010


February 3rd 2007

This IPP Media publication accuses Stewart Middleton and his Tanzanian staff of a vicious criminal assault on Salim Habib, an employee of Benjamin Mengi. The publication states that Stewart Middleton looked on as his staff beat him and attacked him with Mahettes. Quoting Habib with no right of reply to Middleton, IPP Media claimed:-
''The British investor was simply looking on and made no attempt to safe his life’
(For a detailed report on the Salim Habib case and a clear text of the above articcle see below)

The continued harassment against the British investors in the Silverdale Farm case included a defamation campaign by IPP Media, with publications appearing in Tanzania in high profile English and Swahili newspapers owned by the company, radio stations and, published world wide on the Web. All the publications are couched in a language of suspicion and unqualified accusations of guilt against the investors or their staff. They attack the investors status in Tanzania and accuse them of criminality.

The Guardian, Saturday February 3rd 2007

Controversy as Hai Resident is hurt in an assault by armed gang
By Jackson Kimambo - PST, Moshi
A resident of Mili Sita in Hai District, Salim Habib (42) has been admitted to Mawenzi hospital reportedly after being assaulted by Employees of British citizen David Stewart Middleton. The Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander, Luca Ng’oboko, confirmed that the incident occurred on January 31 and said that investigations into the incident were continuing. He said that the police were still investigating whether handcuffs belonged to the Police Force or the Prisons department. Talking to reporters from his hospital bed, Habibu said that he was still feeling sharp pains to his head, chest and body.

He said that at 5.00pm on the material day he was ambushed by a group of people who clubbed him and slashed his body with machetes. He said that he was at the time in the pasture belonging to his employee, Millie mengi. ‘I ran into the cow shed but the attackers followed me, saying that they were going to fix me’ Habibu said. Habibu claimed that he did not know why he was attacked by those workers. ‘I made a lot of noise as I cried for help. It was in vain’ he said. He said that as he was being assaulted, the British Investor was simply looking on and made no attempt to save my life’. Habibu said that soon after the assault was over, a guard at the investor’s property appeared and handcuffed him.
‘At the police station the police found it difficult to dislodge the chains until they simply opted to cut them off so that I could be sent to hospital’ he said. However, one of Mr. Middleton’s employees, Abel Ng’oja rejected claims that Habibu was assaulted but said that he had trespassed into their property.

When the Guardian contacted the Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander, he denied claims that Habibu had been slashed with Pangas but had just been assaulted. ‘We are conducting investigations to establish the existence of criminal conduct.
It is not right to assault a trespasser’ He said. The RPC said that a few suspects had been arrested in relation to the incident. However, he declined to give their names.

In early 2006, Mr. Middleton and his wife had to suffer the appalling sight of Mengi’s cattle dying from neglect and Foot & Foot Mouth disease where infected carcasses were, on the instructions of Mr. and Mrs. Mengi, deliberately left unburied around the area of the couple’s house. Mr. and Mrs. Mengi and their staff, continue to use the animals as a means of harassment and intimidation and as a means of destroying Mr. Middleton’s commercial interests in Tanzania.

On the 31st January 2007 Mr. Salem Habib, an employee of Mengi, deliberately drove forty adult cattle into a two-acre plot of commercial Baby Corn on Silverdale Farm. $10,000 of damage was caused to the crops intended for export to the U.K.


Salem has been banned from entering the farm on four occasions due to his persistent acts of perjury against Mr. Middleton and his wife and was trespassing on the farm at the time. When approached by Mr. Middleton’s staff Salem attacked Mr. Able Ngoja, Mr. Middleton's Technical Farm Manager with a Machete and threatened to kill him. Middleton states ' When approached by my staff the man threatened to kill my Technical manager Able Ngoja and came at him wielding a Machete. The man was apprehended and hand cuffed in full compliance with laws of Tanzania. The police were called but failed to attend for four hours. Mr. Salem Habib was handed over to Inspector Janet from the Moshi Police who attended the farm with Benjamin Mengi four hours after she had been called. She examined the damaged property and took Mr. Salem into custody. He was then released by Inspector Janet and allowed to go to the District Police Station and open criminal charges of assault against me and my staff. Benjamin Mengi, not present at the scene stated to reporters from IPP Media yesterday, one Jackson Kimambo that I had incited his staff to beat Mr. Salem. Once again IPP Media have reported the facts in a defamatory manner and have given me no right of reply’.

Articles appearing in IPP Media’s The Guardian and Nipashe newspapers dated 3 February 2007, once again, carry serious unsubstantiated criminal allegations against Mr. Middleton and his staff. Most seriously, The Guardians journalist Jackson Kimambo writes ‘..the British investor was simply looking on and made no attempt to save…’ Mr. Habib’ s life. Radio 1, IPP Radio Network, announced on the evening of 3 February 2007 that British Investor Stewart Middleton’s staff had beaten up an employee of Mr. Benjamin Mengi brother of IPP Media’s CEO Reginald Mengi, on Silverdale Farm. The Radio or newspaper articles did not site a case number, the issue of destruction of crops or, the fact that Mr. Salem was lawfully detained under the Penal Code of Tanzania or the fact that none of Mr. Middleton’s staff had been charged with any offence.

Mr. Middleton states, ‘no approach was made to me by any journalist and no right of reply given to me or, any member of my staff. This is once again, a disgraceful and defamatory piece of journalism with the clear intention of discrediting me in Tanzania. This will not succeed. Those that know me know that I do not behave in the manner reported and as such, the journalist, Managing Editor and IPP brings shame upon themselves and all decent Tanzanians. My staff were acting in full compliance with the laws of Tanzania to safeguard my property and, the safety of themselves and indeed Mr. Habib. Mr. Habib was in an excited and aggressive state wielding a Machete. He was not beaten. He was restrained for his own safety and the safety of my staff and handed over to the police’.

Mr. Middleton further states, ‘ my staff were asked to attend Moshi Police station the next day and give witness statements. On completion, they were then told by Inspector Janet, that the statements were taken with reference to a complaint of assault by Mr. Habib against me and my staff and not, Mr. Habib’ s serous act of criminal trespass on Silverdale Farm’.

No comments: