In various documents released on the Internet over the weekend Reginald Mengi has gone to great lengths to distance himself from the Silverdale Farm case in Tanzania. In language that appears to assert an in depth knowledge of the case he states his brother Benjamin Mengi’s behaviour is irreproachable and makes claims of corruption against the investors, culminating in accusations that they are engaged in a conspiracy with his long time adversary Yusuf Manji.
Citing plaints he has issued, Reginald Mengi states falsely that Manji and the investors are engaged in a smear campaign to destroy his name.
The recent Internet publications clearly seek to obfuscate the facts of the Silverdale Farm case to the uninformed eye. What is surprising however is that with over nineteen media outlets at his disposal, Reginald Mengi has chosen not to publish his accusations within Tanzania using his own media, but on freeware sites on the Internet.
The ‘smear campaign’ to which Reginald Mengi refers, is a standard communication being sent by the investors, to organisations and individuals around the world that seek to have a relationship with Tanzania and/or, with Reginald Mengi personally. The communications are sent openly and in the public interest in an attempt to highlight the manifest corruption present in the Silverdale Farm case.
In respect of Reginald Mengi, the following is stated within such communications: -
‘’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 assignment complied fully with the laws of Tanzania. We exported fine vegetables to Europe and under our management; we were the first farms 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''.It is perhaps intereting to note, that Mr. Mengi, is not once being accused of being part of the contractual agreement with his brother an accusation that he is going to great lengths to refute.
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:
a. The refusal of the authorities to register our lease or recognise our Deed of Assignment;
b.The destruction of commercial contracts;
c. Violence to, and the imprisonment of, our key operational staff; and
d. 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, which crippled us financially, and five years later, no cases have been heard. Despite four years of effort by the British Government, through its High Commission in Dar es Salaam to resolve our case, and despite the personal promises of President Kikwete that the rule of law would be upheld, Mr. Mengi’s criminal conduct remains unchecked. We fled the country in 2008 and lost our entire investment. Mr. Mengi then invaded the farm and remains there unchallenged by rule of law.
The continued harassment against us includes a defamation campaign by the local organisation 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 our staff and us. They attacked our investor status in Tanzania, accused us of criminality in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, and damaged our commercial interests and personal reputations. No right of reply is ever given. The publications continue with the latest being on IPP Radio 1, broadcast in March 2010, and stating we stole the lease to Silverdale Farm and the lawful owner was the 'patriotic investor', Benjamin Mengi.
IPP Media is owned and run by Mr. Reginald Mengi, the brother of Mr. Benjamin Mengi. Reginald Mengi expressed his concerns to the British Government that the case involving his brother was damaging his own business interests and reputation. The British High Commissioner to Tanzania at the time, Mr. Andrew Pocock, stated that he was concerned about our reputation and about the defamatory statements appearing in IPP Media publications. Mr. Mengi stated that he was not aware of the defamatory publications and that, as CEO of IPP Media (i.e. not the editor), he could not be held responsible for them. He requested a meeting with my husband and Mr. Pocock at his home in Dar es Salaam. My husband’s clear recollection of this meeting was that Mr. Mengi promised he would address his brother’s behaviour and that he would personally pay for our legal costs arising from the vexatious litigation started by his brother. He denies this. Mr. Mengi did not honour these promises. Far from diminishing, the defamation campaign in IPP Media publications escalated from this point onwards’’.
As with all public interest communications the reader is left to decide on the truth of the facts communicated and like all truth, it will withstand any storm!!!!!!!