Reginald Mengi was awarded the Environmental Medal of the First Class Medal (for outstanding and exemplary service to the nation) by President Kikwete on his return from the UK on 9th December 2012 where he was found to be complicit in corruption by the London High Court.
On 9th January 2013, a few days after Reginald Mengi returned to Tanzania from the UK where he lost his libel case in the British High Court against British investor Sarah Hermitage, he was awarded the Environmental Medal of the First and Second Class Medal by President Kikwete.
The medal was awarded by Kikwete for Mengi’s outstanding and exemplary service to the nation.
Reginald Mengi is one of Tanzania's foremost anti-corruption campaigners yet was found to be complicit in corruption by the London High Court. In the above libel case.
Lord Justice Bean found Hermitage justified in her published comments about Mengi ruling he had been complicit in a four-year campaign of intimidation by his younger brother Benjamin Mengi to drive Hermitage and her husband Stewart Middleton off their farm near Moshi.
Sarah Hermitage began a blog in 2009, after she return to Britain, and accused the billionaire of responsibility for a series of articles attacking her husband in his IPP Resources newspapers. IPP’s coverage of the dispute with Benjamin, an influential businessman who just months after selling the lease of Silverdale and Mbono farms took aggressive measures to reclaim it, portrayed Benjamin as a ‘patriotic investor’ and reported a string of false allegations against Stewart Middleton. Reginald Mengi, who denied having an active role in his media companies, sued for libel.
Justice Bean concluded ‘the campaign in the Guardian and Nipashe [an IPP Kiswahili paper] facilitated Benjamin’s corruption of local officials and intimidation of the Middletons and thus helped Benjamin to destroy their investments and grab their property; and that Mr. Mengi, since he either encouraged or knowingly permitted the campaign, was in that sense complicit in Benjamin’s corruption and intimidation.’
The judge described Hermitage’s response to IPP’s campaign as ‘reasonable, proportionate and relevant’ and, given the seriousness of the attack, ‘measured, even restrained’.The judge scorned Reginald Mengi’s claims to have a ‘hands-off approach’ to his publications, noting ‘the hollowness of the pretence that the editorial teams at Mr. Mengi’s newspapers exercise robust independence at all times’. He cited a 2008 memo in which the Guardian Managing Director instructed all editors to seek his approval before publishing ‘controversial or any otherwise sensitive stories on President Jakaya Kikwete’, calling it ‘a momentary glimpse of the truth’.The verdict received scant coverage in Tanzania and none in British newspapers.