Judegment Day At The High Court London

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

Friday, 9 July 2010



These clear threats of violence towards British investor Sarah Hermitage were uttered by Moshi advocate Appolo Maruma to the Ambassador of the United States, Alfonso Lendhart, British High Commissioner to Tanzania Diane Corner and British Member of Parliament for Thant North Roger Gale. The threats of violence were written in an email that responded to an email sent by the investor to the above named. The email and Maruma's response are posted below. Appolo Maruma appears on the Citizens Advice page of the Web site of the United States America in Tanzania as a listed Advocate in Moshi. No other Moshi advocate appears on the page.

Your Excellency,

I have contacted you previously on the Silverdale Farm case as you are aware.

I refer you to the web site of the United States of America in Tanzania. A section of the site, provides information to citizens/investors of legal service offered in Tanzania and the services of Moshi Advocate Apollo John Maruma are advertised as follows:-

KNCU, Kibo Road
(P.O. Box 853), Moshi;
Telephone: (027) 275-1438;
Fax (027) 275-3088

I wish to point out to you that this advocate is corrupt and incompetent and you will be compromising the business interests of US citizens if indeed they, as a result of your advertisement, engage the services of this man.

I refer you once again, to the Silverdale Farm case and the conduct of Mr Maruma vis-a-vis this case to support the accuracy of my allegation. You are already aware of the details of this case but I outline them again briefly for your assistance.

In 2004 my husband and I purchased through Silverdale Tanzania Ltd the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms in the Hai district of the Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania from Fiona Tanzania Ltd., a company owned and managed by a Mr. Benjamin Mengi. The price of the lease was US$112,000.00. The assignment complied fully with the laws of Tanzania, and the cash was paid to Mr Mengi in two installments, with the final payment being made in October 2004. Following completion we moved onto the farms, which became our home. We exported fine vegetables to Europe and under our management; we were the first farm in the Kilimanjaro regions to be granted EUROGAP accreditation. When we took over the farm the infrastructure was derelict and the farm commercially non-productive.

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 we refused to return the lease, he stated that he would drive us 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 us, 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 us in years of costly and vexatious litigation within a corrupt legal system resulting in one case ordering us to pay Mr. Mengi $90,000 damages for libel and the confiscation of all our property including our 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:- http://thesilverdalecase.blogspot.com/2009/11/tanzania-mengi-makes-law-shame-on.html There are thirteen other cases against us all showing the same level of corruption. Mr. Mengi then invaded the farm and remains there unchallenged by rule of law.

In an utterly bizarre twist Mr. 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.

The Kyeri, Shari and Uswaa Mamba co-operative societies hold the right of occupancy to Silverdale and Mbono Farms. In 1999 they issued a 60 year lease to Fiona Tanzania Ltd a company owned by Benjamin and Millie Mengi, the later now deceased. In 2004, Fiona (Mengi) sold the lease to Silverdale Tanzania Ltd a company set up by myself, and my husband in which Mengi was a minor shareholder who was later removed as a director in full compliance with the law. The assignment complied fully with the laws of Tanzania. One year later, Mengi demanded the lease back, the co-ops refused to recognise the assignment and Mengi applied to the District Land and Housing Tribunal to have us evicted. The proceedings were legally abusive in themselves but were on appeal, dismissed by the High Court Lands Division in 2006 by Hon Kileo. Mengi took out another case this time in the High Court. In this case, again, he admits the assignment and asks again for it to be set aside again .

In 2008 we fled Tanzania due to threats to our lives, and continued corruption and intimidation from the police and judiciary. Mengi invaded the farms in January 2008, broke into out house, stole and violated our property cut down all the trees on the farms and destroyed property.

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 Mille Mengi) as the owner to the lease 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 court upheld the eviction order and on 14 th June 2010 with the assistance of the Moshi Police, Mengi was evicted from Silverdale & Mbono Farms.

Mr. Maruma 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.

The matter is being addressed by the British government, but I suggest, it is wholly negligent of you if, under the circumstances to advocate this man as a competent provider of legal services on the web site of the United States.

For your information other advocates that have engaged in Coruuption in this case are as follows:-

Professor, Msungu. A Moshi advocate that acted for the co-operative societies on the assignment of the lease.

Peter Jonathan who acted for us, drafted and effected the assignment of the lease to us.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any of the original documents referred to above.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hermitage.

---- Original Message -----

From: maruma advocate
Sent: Friday, July 09, 2010 6:25 AM

Your Excellency,

For the record, we take the liberty to respond to our copy of the email from the so called
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales. With due respect, she displayed an

extreme sense of arrogance in publishing such a defamatory story against our integrity

about which she is least qualified to judge. She demonstrated the height of desperation

and recklessness.

In a nutshell, she, through Silvedale (T) Ltd, conspired to take over tracks of land on lease

to Fiona (T) Ltd without due consent by owners, poor rural villagers organised as
Cooperative Societies, our clients. The societies recovered their land for defaults in rentals

payments and poor investment etc which Fiona is challenging in court. The fraud between

Fiona and Silverdale went sour hence her desperation. Allegations of corruption are frivolous,

insulting and offensive to say the least.

The Solicitor - turned - agricultural investor is welcome to pursue her rights, if any, in court

and avoid malicious smear campaigns, against resident professionals. She should learn

to look back over her shoulders when she set foot in Tanzania again.

If Sarah has lost faith in our system of government, she should try Zimbabwe.


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