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Saturday, May 02, 2009

TweetThis! Collection of signature in support of Reginald Mengi's statement

muXalumni is collecting signatures in support of Mengi's statement, "Five grand corruption 'sharks'" please support the move and have a say by writting your name via the following link : http://muhimbili.blogspot.com/2009/04/collection-of-signature-in-support-of.html
Thank you!

1 feedback :

Anonymous said... Sat May 02, 03:44:00 PM MST  

The publishing of such allegations without evidence amounts to criminal libel in accordance with the penal code of Tanzania. No problem for Mengi it seems as his actions have been condoned by Prime Minister Pinda today’s IPP Media publication, The Guardian who states that Mengi has a constitutional right to defame and act as judge and jury in Tanzania. The question is, is the pot calling the kettle black?

Reginald Mengi has underscored the need for journalists to abide by professional ethics and respect for truth and privacy. Addressing a news conference in his office in Dar es Salaam on 10th April 2009 Mengi accused newspapers '.........sponsored by corrupt suspects, of relentlessly publishing stories full of mischief and falsehoods ...' about him and his family. Given these statements one would expect that Mengi would be particularly mindful of the conduct of IPP Media given, as chief executive officer he is ultimately accountable for the journalistic practices of the group.

In May 2004, Benjamin Mengi, Reginald Mengi’s brother, assigned (through Fiona Tanzania Ltd) the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms (Hai District) to British investor Stewart Middleton (Silverdale Tanzania Ltd) in full compliance with the laws of Tanzania. In May 2005, Mengi began negotiating with another British investor Konrad Legg (Tudeley Estates) to sell the lease to him a second time and demanded the lease back. He then claimed he had not been paid in full despite, signing a receipt.

The investors allege, that when they refused to hand the lease back to Mengi, they were then subjected to legal abuse, violence and intimidation at the hands of Mengi and State institutions particularly the police ad judiciary. A background of what is now known as they 'Silverdale Case' can be read at:-


An objective examination of IPP Media’s ‘investigative’ and ‘accountable’ journalism in respect of the 'Silverdale Case' reveals a worrying story in relation to IPP Media's conduct which shows little or no regard for good journalistic practice or indeed, that Mengi is prepared to practice what he preaches in respect of journalistic ethics.
On 22nd November 2005, the Guardian and Nipashe newspapers accused Mr. Middleton of issuing a dud cheque to Benjamin Mengi for $7,000 and that he and his Tanzanian Technical Manager had forged the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms.
There is no offence of issuing a ‘bogus’ cheque under the Penal Code of Tanzania, no charge sheet was produced in court and when it was produced the charges were clearly forged at the hands of Inspector Janeth, of the Moshi police and Benjamin Mengi as they complainant. No formal arrest had been made of the men who were denied legal representation. Investigative journalism would have established and revealed these simple facts. It did not. Further, IPP Media did not report the fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew all charges against the men when he had been apprised of the facts of the complaint.
On 19th January 2006, the Guardian and Nipashe Newspapers accused Mr. Middleton of stealing articles of equipment from Silverdale & Mbono Farms and destroying structures and uprooting coffee trees. It repeated again (after all charges had been dropped by the DPP) the fact that Mr. Middleton was accused of issuing a fake cheque to Benjamin Mengi and of forging the lease to Silverdale & Mbono Farms. It also stated that Benjamin Mengi had taken possession of Silverdale & Mbono Farms.
The publications did not state, that Mr. Mengi’s application to have the investor evicted from the farms was dismissed by the High Court Moshi (Lands Division) by Hon. Kileo or that no criminal charges were pending against the investor or his staff (Land Case 1. 2006). On 24th May 2006, the Guardian accused Mr. Middleton of preventing a court entourage onto his home Silverdale Farm, stating that the purpose of the visit was to allow doctors to exhume bodies of animals kept on the farm by Mrs Millie Mengi.
Mrs. Millie Mengi has issued a civil plaint against Mr. Middleton accusing him of killing her animals kept unlawfully on Silverdale Farm and of forging a quarantine order issued by Zonal Veterinary Officer Dr. Swai in March 2006 who declared the animals to be suffering from Foot & Mouth Disease and imposed a Quarantine order on the animals. The publication did not state the fact that Mr. Middleton was not present on the farm when the entourage led by Mengi attended, that the court order was issued before the hearing for the order and that Mrs. Mengi had no lawful right to keep animals on the farm and could remove them at any time she wished.
On 20th July 2006, Mr. Middleton was once again arrested on allegations brought against him by Mrs. Millie Mengi. This time he was accused of breaching a civil court order. Mr. Middleton was brought before the court, refused bail and sent to Karanga Prison by Moshi Resident Magistrate, Temu and held in a prison cage outside the High Court in Moshi. IPP Media reported the arrest and imprisonment the following day.

The Daily News reported on July 26th, 2006, that the High Court in Moshi ordered the immediate release of Mr. Middleton ruling that there was no evidence to support his arrest. IPP Media publications did not report these facts. On 3rd February 2007, the Guardian newspaper accused four members of Mr. Middleton’s staff of attacking one Salim Habib, an employee of Benjamin Mengi with Pangas on Silverdale Farm without reason. The publication further stated that Mr. Middleton had stood by and watched the assault. This information was also broadcast on IPP Media Radio 1 Network. IPP Media newspaper the Nipashe carried a further article some days later stating that Mr. Middleton’s staff were now ‘on the run’ having absconded from bail. As a matter of public record, this was a blatant lie. As a matter of public record, no member of Mr. Middleton’s staff had been arrested however, Salim Habib Mengi’s cattle manager had been arrested and charged with Malicious Damage by driving forty head of adult cattle belonging to Mrs Millie Mengi onto a two hectare field of commercial maize on Silverdale Farm destroying crops and causing $20,000 of damage.

IPP Media did not report this. On 11th April 2007, the Guardian and Nipashe newspapers reported that Mr. Middleton and his wife had been ordered to pay 90m/-for defamation, based on comments accredited to them in the Daily News on June 2006.

One would think, that being fully apprised of the laws of Libel that IPP Media would know, that in cases of Libel, only the writer, printer and publisher of the material could be sued. As such, the case and the judgment were completely outside of the courts powers. IPP Media did not print this or the fact that the investor’s lawyers Moshi advocate Westgate Lumambo had deliberately failed to file a defence in the case, which was heard without Mr. Middleton being present in court. The publications stated Mr. Middleton had accused Benjamin Mengi of bribery and corruption. In fact, the person accredited with these remarks was Dr. Juma Ngasongwa Minister for Empowerment, Investment& Planning. IPP Media did not state this or the fact that he had not been sued. Instead of demonstrating a commitment to investigative journalism with a commitment to fighting corruption and good governance, the above media practice amounts to nothing short of a cowardly, deliberately inaccurate and abusive attack on the British investors, which appears to be nothing short of journalistic terrorism.

All the publications are couched in a language of suspicion and unqualified accusations of guilt against Mr. Middleton and his staff. No right of reply was ever given and all viciously attack Mr. Middleton’s commercial interest and reputation, not only in Tanzania but worldwide given the articles were published on the Internet.
In November 2005, Reginald Gave his personal assurance to former British High Commissioner to Tanzania Andrew Pocock that IPP Media would not engage in defamatory practices against the British investors in the 'Silverdale Case'.
Clearly he did not keep his promise.

The moral of the story is, if you live in a glasshouse, don't throw stones.

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