The bosses of Tanzania’s leading cellular network company Vodacom and fintech firm Tala were on Wednesday charged with economic crimes in Dar es Salaam.
The Vodacom managing director and Tala business operations manager charged alongside six other company staff in the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court with causing the government the loss of Tsh5.8 billion ($2.5 million) in fraudulent use of their networks.
The companies and their staff face 10 charges of contravening the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act, 2002.
The court was told that on diverse dates between January 1, 2018 and March 11, 2019 the accused intentionally and wilfully organised a criminal racket which cost the government the money.
They were Vodacom new managing director Hisham Abdel Hendia, Joseph Gichui Nderitu, Olaf Peter Muburi, Joseph Mumburi, Joseph Muhere and Ibrahim Bonzo.
The others were Ahmed Hashim Ngassa, business operation manager of Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd (trading as Tala Tanzania) and the company’s information technology specialist Brian Keneth Lusiola.
Vodacom Tanzania and its staff were accused of importing and installation of electronic communication equipment without licence, and operating network facilities without licence, contrary to Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010.
They were further accused of fraudulent use of network facilities, use of unapproved electronic equipment connected to electronic communication network service, use of numbers without relevant assignment, occasioning loss of specified authority, permitting use of network services without relevant assignment, occasioning loss to a specified authority in breach of the economic and Organised Crime Control Act.
They were remanded, as the crimes they are accused of are not bailable.