(For a detailed report on the Salim Habib case and a clear text of the above articcle see below)
FULL TEXT OF THE IPP MEDIA ARTICLE. DEFAMATORY STATMENTS ARE HIGHLIGHTED IN RED
Controversy as Hai Resident is hurt in an assault by armed gang
By Jackson Kimambo - PST, Moshi
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.
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.
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’.