Addressing members of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) at the prize giving of the 2013 President’s Manufacturer Awards President Kikwete of Tanzania identified corruption and tax evasion as among major obstacles to the country’s economic development and called for compliance among business people and companies.
One of the most prominent business people in Tanzania is Reginald Mengi. Owner of IPP Media a huge media empire and listed on Forbes as being wealthy in excess of $500 mil. He is also corrupt. Further, his corruption relates to the destruction of foreign direct investment in Tanzania which impacts on the investment environment in Tanzania and is an issue which is close to Kikwete’s heart.
In 2012 Reginald Mengi sued British investor in Tanzania Sarah Hermitage in respect of five postings on her Silverdale Farm blog and two emails she had sent, which Mr Mengi claimed to be false and defamatory of him.
During the trial, the Court heard unchallenged evidence from Sarah Hermitage and her husband, Stewart Middleton, as to how they were by threats, intimidation and corruption driven from Tanzania and forced to abandon the investment they had made in their farm, Silverdale, of which Reginald Mengi’s younger brother, Benjamin, then took possession.
The Court was told that a major factor in the ordeal they suffered was the hostile and defamatory coverage their case received from the IPP-owned English language Guardian and the Swahili Nipashe newspapers. Reginald Mengi, in the course of his evidence, repeatedly stated that he “was not responsible, not accountable and not answerable” for the editorial content of IPP publications.
In giving Judgment, Mr Justice Bean ruled:
“I find that the campaign in the Guardian and Nipashe facilitated Benjamin’s corruption of local officials and intimidation of the Middletons and thus helped Benjamin to destroy their investments and grab their properties; and that Mr [Reginald] Mengi, since he either encouraged or knowingly permitted the campaign, was in that sense complicit in Benjamin’s corruption and intimidation. The allegation is thus substantially true, and justified at common law.”
It was extraordinary therefore that Kikwete made his remarks standing side by side with Reginald Mengi. What is even more extraordinary is that he did not turn to Mengi and say “Mr Mengi you are corrupt and I will not stand on the same stage as you”.
The below photograph and article was published in the part State owned media the Daily News. The article specifically highlights the fact that Reginald Mengi shares the stage with Kikwete. Other publications did not do this.
Kikwete insisted that industries should keep away from any form of corruption. IPP Media is perhaps one of the largest media industries in Tanzania yet it does not seem to worry Kikwete that the London High Court found that it had engaged in a campaign of journalistic terrorism and operated a campaign of journalism in favour of himself.
The Daily News
Business firms warned against corruption and tax evasion
President Jakaya Kikwete hands over a trophy to the Chief Executive Officer of Jambo Plastics Ltd, Ms Rupa Suchak, after emerging the overall winner of the President’s Manufacturer Awards of the Year (PMAYA) 2013 in Dar es Salaam on Friday. Looking on is the former Chairman of CTI, Mr Reginald Mengi
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has identified corruption and tax evasion as among major obstacles to the country’s economic development and called for compliance among business people and companies.
President Kikwete made the remarks when addressing members of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI), at the occasion to give prizes to winners of this year’s President’s Manufacturer Awards (PMAYA) for 2013.
The event was held in Dar es Salaam on Friday night and Jambo Plastics Limited emerged the overall winner. Mr Kikwete said serious investment would lead to economic growth that the country is in need of for people’s development.
However, he insisted that industries should keep away from any form of corruption, especially tax evasion as the practice undermined revenue collection. “Tax evasion is a serious flaw which should not be entertained at any production unit.
Giving or receiving bribes is a serious offence and should be reported to appropriate authorities for proper action,” President Kikwete said.
He also underscored the need for industrial owners (employers) to improve the working conditions for their employees by providing the necessary work facilities, insisting that both sides need each other to sustain production.
“Without workers there is no production and production comes from industries which offer job opportunities. It is important that working environments are improved accordingly in terms of security, better remunerations and work relations,” he clarified.
In his address, Mr Kikwete emphasised on the on going efforts by the government to improve the infrastructures, including the Dar es Salaam port as the major export and import entry point.
In attendance was the Minister for Industries, Dr Abdallah Kigoda who said deliberate efforts had been made to address challenges that existed and marred the industrial sector, by involving the private sectors to discuss some critical matters to come out with solutions.
“Industrial sector still has many challenges including poor infrastructure, lack of expertise and availability of electricity which doesn’t reach the industrial needs. Due to that we are working very closely with investors by arranging different meetings to have views on how to solve those challenges,” he said.
On his part, The Chairman of CTI, Dr Samuel Nyanta he expressed his sincere gratitude to the government on behalf of the whole members, saying that the government has been always supporting industries, the fact which led to the economy growth in 2013.
“Government did a great job for the growth of economy through industries, we witness different projects taking place in the country, just to facilitate production in industries especially in infrastructure through roads, gas and electricity,” he explained.
Some 33 outstanding manufacturers were nominated for the PMAYA awards, where the top awards went to Jambo Plastics Limited followed by Tanzania Breweries Limited and Shelys, an Aspen Group Company.
By FRANK KIMARO, Tanzania Daily News