Tanzania: Prominent Businessman Charged With 15.6 Billion Shillings Tax Fraud

Dar es Salaam - A prominent businessman in the city, Mohamed Mustafa Yusufali together with four other people appeared in court yesterday charged with defrauding the government of billions of shillings in tax revenue.

Mr Yusufali, a director of Farm Plant Limited, faced 199 counts of various offences, including occasioning the government a loss of over S5.6 billion by evading value added tax (VAT). He and Mr Alloyscious Mandago, Mr Isaack Kasanga, Mr Taherali Sujjaudin and Mr Mohamed Kabula were arraigned at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court.

Charged before Resident magistrate Huruma Shahidi, the accused were not allowed to enter a plea because the court has no jurisdiction to hear economic crimes cases.

Assisted by Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) lawyer Leonard Swai, Senior State Attorney, Shadrack Kimaro, told the court that Mr Yusufali, who is the first accused, faced 199 counts, which include fraudulently obtaining over S5.645 billion from the government.

He was also jointly charged with the other four accused of money laundering, which caused the government a loss of S billion.

The prosecution also alleged that, on diverse dates, Mr Yusufali forged documents to show that various companies were legally incorporated in Tanzania while they were not. The firms are Festive General Business Limited, Cebers General Company Limited, Emi General Properties Limited and Fast Future General Trading Limited.

He is also alleged to have submitted false documents to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Kinondoni Tax Region office, purporting to show that the companies were legally incorporated in Tanzania so that they could be registered as taxpayers.

The accused were remanded until July 25 when the case will come up for another mention.

Source: The Citizen