Judegment Day At The High Court London

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

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Under the US Citizen Services Web page of the America Embassy in Dar es Salaam is a page described as 'helpful information' listing selected lawyers in Tanzania as follows:-

List of Lawyers
This list is provided for information only. The American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania assumes no liability for the professional ability or reputation of the persons whose names appear on this list. The names listed are arranged alphabetically; the order in which they appear has no other significance

The following lawyer (one only) is listed for Moshi

Maruma, Appolo John


Maruma and Company Advocates
KNUC, Kibo Road, P.O. Box 853, Moshi;
Tel: 255-27-275-1438; Fax 255-27-275-3088

Maruma, Appolo John
Adoptions, Aeronautical / Maritime, Auto / Accidents, Banking / Financial, Child Custody, Civil Damages, Collections, Contracts, Corporations, Estates, Foreign Claims, Foreign Investments, Theft, Fraud, Embezzlement, Taxes, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Narcotics, Mining, Marriage / Divorce, Marketing Agreements, Labor, Immigration, Investment, Insurance, Government Relations.

There are over twenty lawyers practicing in Moshi but the above is the only lawyer listed on the American Embassy's Web site.

In 2004 The Kyeri, Shari, and Uswaa Mamba rural co-operative societies who hold the 99 year Right of Occupancy to Silverdale and Mbono Farms, issued a 60 year lease to Benjamin Mengi's company Fiona Tanzania Ltd. He in turn, sold the lease in 2004 to Silverdale Tanzania Ltd a company owned by British investor Stewart Middleton. The assignment complied fully with the laws of Tanzania.

One year after the assignment, Mr. Mengi demanded the lease back, stating he had not been paid in full. This was despite the fact that he had signed a receipt for the monies. When the investor refused Mengi stated  he would drive him out of Tanzania by any means; “cut to pieces in a coffin, if necessary”.

A four-year campaign of violence and harassment was then unleashed against the investors  facilitated by the police and judiciary and involving a plethora of State institutions. This included:

The refusal of the authorities to register our lease or recognise our Deed of Assignment;
The destruction of commercial contracts;

Violence, threats to our lives and the wrongful imprisonment of our key operational staff; and

The constant arrest, and ultimate imprisonment, of my husband on trumped-up charges.

A most destructive dynamic in this campaign was Mr. Mengi’s use of the courts and judiciary to engage the investors  in years of costly and vexatious litigation within a corrupt legal system resulting in one case ordering the investors to pay Mr. Mengi $90,000 damages for libel and the confiscation of all their property including their animals. No cause of action existed and despite representations by the British government the judgment still stands and the court refuses to hear an appeal. The judgment can be read at the following link; it is illustrative of the extent of corruption in this case:-


There are thirteen other cases against the investors all showing the same level of corruption. Mr. Mengi then invaded the farm and remains there unchallenged until 14th June 2010.

In 2006, Mengi applied to the District Land and Housing Tribunal with a corrupt and defective plaint that had no jurisdiction in that Forum to have the investors evicted from the farms. He admitted the assignment but asked for it to be set aside. The Land and Housing Tribunal upheld Mengi's claim but it was dismissed on appeal at the High Court Lands Division, Hon. Kileo on the basis of abuse of process, i.e the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the claim. Hon. Kileo left the investors to pay the costs of Mengi's vexatious litigation of $6,000 without stating her reasin. She also chatised Moshi advocate Sandi for bringing the claim in abuse of process. However, this is where sense and sensibility end with the Silverdale Farm case and Mengi.

Mengi immediately re-opened the same claim in the High Court Lands Division. Again, he admits the assignment of the lease to the investors but asks for it to be set aside. He produced perjured documents as part of the claim and the police refuse to even look at them. This case has not been heard.

In an utterly bizarre twist Moshi advocate Appolo Maruma has just facilitated with a corrupt Moshi judiciary, what amounts to the Nationalization of British assists which is now being addressed by the British government.

On the 5th January 2010, Apollo Maruma, acting on behalf of the co-operative societies, completely ignoring the assignment from Fiona Tanzania to Silverdale Tanzania recognised,  Fiona Tanzania Ltd (and Benjamin and Millie Mengi) as the owner to the lease to the farms and served an eviction notice on Mengi (Fiona Tanzania Ltd) for breach of contract. This despite the fact that there was a caveat on the lease in the Lands Office in Moshi affected by Lands Officer Nkya.

Mengi's response, was to file another case in the High Court Lands Division case 2/2010 this time declaring himself unilaterally to be the owner of the lease (this despite the other cases in the same case in which he states he is not) asking for the eviction order to be stayed and for the High Court to declare him to be the owner of the lease and asking the co-ops to pay him $5,000,000 in damages but not stating what damages.

The Moshi High Court Lands Divisions completely ignored the other cases mengi has in court stating that he has assigned the lease and, completely ignoring the legalities of the assignment,  upheld the eviction order and on 14th June 2010 with the assistance of the Moshi Police, Mengi was evicted from Silverdale & Mbono Farms which were then formally handed back to the co-operative societies who had, previously accepted rent from the investors as the leaseholders.

Mr. Maruma as every other person and lawyer in Moshi, is perfectly aware that there was no contractual relationship between Mengi (Fiona Tanzania) and the co-operative societies. He is fully aware that his clients, the co-operative societies assigned the lease to Silverdale tanzania in 2004 in full compliance with the laws of Tanzania. He is also aware that there is a case pending in the High court where Mengi has actually admitted the assignment and is asking for it to be set aside. This whole issue is a corrupt legal mess in which Mr. Maruma is now involved together with the corruption of the High Court police and judiciary in Moshi and of course, the co-operative societies who have taken rent from us vis-a-vis the assignment.

When spoken to Mr Maruma's email comment was, 'you are confused with the law, better you stay out of it'.

Ms Cedra Eaton,  of the Consular section of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam states, 

' we cannot be responsible for the conduct of the lawyers that are listed on the Web site, we just list the lawyers we are aware of and potential investors should make their own enquiries as to their credibility'.

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