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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

TweetThis! Rostam goes to PCCB. Mengi goes to court.

As Rostam approaches PCCB: Mengi goes to court - THISDAY REPORTER, Dar es Salaam

IPP Limited Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi has filed a formal suit at the High Court in Dar es Salaam demanding at least 10.5bn/- from Igunga Member of Parliament Rostam Aziz for publishing false and defamatory statements against him through various media outlets.

Advocate Michael Ngalo filed the suit on Monday this week, a day after Rostam made the said statements at a press conference in the city.

Rostam, who apart from his parliamentary role is also a prominent local businessman, is said to have used the press conference to falsely and maliciously link Mengi with various underhand business dealings in the past.

This is the latest development in the heated face-off between the two, whereby on Tuesday this week Rostam handed over to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) written testimony of his accusations against Mengi.

According to the plaint of the suit filed by advocate Ngalo, the published defamatory statements implied that one of Mengi’s companies, Anche Mwedu Limited, borrowed billions of shillings from the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) in the 1980s, and subsequently refused or defaulted to repay the loan.

Rostam is also alleged to have claimed that Mengi ’’fraudulently took or stole or swindled 28bn/- from the NBC; bankrupted NBC; and is a chronic debtor, dishonest and uncreditworthy.’’

The Igunga legislator is further claimed to have falsely implied in his statements that the IPP boss obtained Commodity Import Support (CIS) funds fraudulently, and forced the National Investment Company (NICO) to purchase shares in Interchem Pharma Limited.

It is also alleged that, according to Rostam’s statement, TANPACK Industries Limited collapsed or went into bankruptcy because of a ’’secret’’ loan that Mengi took from NBC in that company’s name, and used for purposes other than those intended.

’’The plaintiff states that the collapse or demise of TANPACK Industries Limited was neither caused by him nor by the debt it (TANPACK) owned to NBC, as alleged by the defendant, at all. The defendant’s allegations to that effect are wrongful and false,’’ said the plaint submitted to the High Court.

Further redress is sought for Rostam’s implied statements that Mengi is a racist, defends indigenous people for personal gain, and sold off to an Indian a piece of land that he was given freely by the government in the (Dar es Salaam) City centre.

The plaint also takes up issue with various other implied Rostam statements, including that Mengi cannot run or manage any business successfully; obtained his wealth ’’illegally, dubiously and fraudulently’’; hates or envies others who are successful in business; has a bad record of killing his own companies to avoid paying debts and taxes; and is therefore a tax evader, debt defaulter, corrupt person, and unethical businessman.

Apart from the 10.5bn/- in damages, the plaintiff is also seeking a High Court order for the defendant in the suit to retract his afore-mentioned statements, plus a permanent injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, servants and workmen from repeating, publishing and circulating the ’falsehoods’ contained in the said statements.

Mengi is also asking the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Rostam from making and publishing any matter concerning or touching on him (Mengi) personally and his businesses, without his (Mengi’s) prior consultation.

The plaintiff is seeking a High Court order for unconditional apology to himself for ’’each and every false matter uttered, published and circulated by the defendant,’’ that a draft of the retraction and apology is submitted to him (plaintiff) for approval, and that it be published in three consecutive issues of all mainstream local newspapers.

These include Daily news, THISDAY, The Citizen, Majira, Mtanzania, The African, Tanzania Daima, Uhuru, HabariLeo, Nipashe, The Guardian, and Business Times.

On the matter of damages, the plaintiff is asking the court to order the defendant to pay him 10bn/- in general damages, 500m/- in punitive damages, interests on the decremental sums at the court rate of 12 per cent from the date of award until full and final payment, and costs of the suit.

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