Monday, October 20, 2014

DECI members stranded, DPP promises to work on their appeal case

The newly appointed Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Biswalo .E.K Mganga has promised to push on the long awaited appeal of a case in which leaders of the defunct Development Entrepreneurship for Community Initiative (DECI) were convicted of misconduct against financial regulations. Speaking in a telephone interview on Thursday last week, the DPP Mganga has assured to work on the appeal which was applied in High Court in August 2013and inform the general public of the outcome. “I am new in the office, just give me time to work on the issue and then will release the outcome to the media so as they inform the general public what is going on about the matter” he said and paused. The long awaited appeal has caused frustration and disbelief among 450,000 DECI members who seem to have lost hope of being refunded with their money which they had sown as seeds in the company before it seized its operation two years ago. The order to refund members of their money was ruled out by the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam after the firm’s leaders were convicted of an offense after operating a pyramid scheme contrary to Section 911 8(2) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act number 5 of 2006 when brought before the court.  Among orders given by the Magistrate Stuart Sanga who was presiding over the case prior to its judgment in August 2013, in his ruling included a directive to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to refund members of the public who owed the company over Sh. 92bn/- after they had sown seeds with the company before it seized its operation.  


Central Bank of Tanzania, twin tower buildings in Dar es Salaam city.

In the judgment, the court also ordered the company’s dissolution and directed the BoT to confiscate all accounts at various banks opened for the institution and seize all other assets owned by the company to refund the frustrated members who had their money sown as seeds upon verification of required receipts.  However, a follow up was made by this paper over the matter with a view to find out how far has the BoT gone in the execution of the court’s order and found out that, no single payment is already settled to members as ordered by the court. Preliminary investigation by this paper over the matter discovered that, the BoT could not immediately effect the order owing to the fact that, the office of the DPP had filed an appeal to High Court whose outcome is not yet out up to now. The BoT’s issued a letter with reference No. DECI (T) Ltd of 4th Nov 2013 to clarify the matter which was signed by its Deputy Governor Lila Mkila that immediately after the judgment on the DECI case, the DPP preferred a notice of appeal to High Court. He further noted that, following this notice which was filed on 23rd August, unless the appeal is determined otherwise the BoT cannot execute the order. Mkila responded after this paper had earlier sent a request of information to the Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania with a view to see how the BoT has executed the court’s order for the interest of DECI members. According to media reports, by May 14, 2009, at least half a million people had sunk billions of shillings into the scheme, some having borrowed from banks, rickety family budgets and savings and credit cooperative societies for the purpose. The leaders were alleged to have conducted an illegal pyramid scheme whereby they solicited money from people and promised huge returns in the form of interest on money sown. The scheme was made operational in the country on different dates between 2007 up to when the police impounded their premises in March 2009 at their headquarter offices located at Mabibo area in Dar es Salaam.

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