Foreign Mineral Dealers Accuse Local Businessman

FOUR foreign businessmen from Seychelles and South Africa have applied for the arrest and detention of a local businessman, Mr Johnson Lukaza, for alleged failure to settle a 75,000 US dollar dept in connection with a deal involving gold and diamond minerals.

The four, Alan Ernestine, Roland Vincent and Mary-Alise Ernestine from Seychelles and Robert Simpson, a resident of South Africa, also seek orders from the High Court’s Commercial Division requiring directors of a company called Kernel Limited to be imprisoned for similar default.

In the application filed by advocate Oscar Msechu from C and M Advocates, the four applicants want Mr Lukaza, who is among several suspects in the alleged theft of money from the External Payment Accounts (EPA) of Bank of Tanzania (BoT) and directors of the company, detained as civil prisoner for failure to pay the said money.

The application was filed on Wednesday as part of the execution of a decree issued by the court on October 23, 2009 for which the two (Mr Lukaza and Kernel Limited) were ordered to pay a total sum of 180,000 US dollars.

But as of September 30, last year, only 105,000 US dollars had been paid.

It is alleged that the two have refused to pay the balance of 75,000 US dollars and an interest of 1,313 US dollars, prompting the advocate for the applicants to seek the court’s intervention.

The filing of the application has been made following directives given by Judge Agathon Nchimbi on January 28, 2014.

The transaction leading to the dispute shows that sometime in April 2003, Mr Lukaza informed Mr Roland Vincent that he had parcels of gold and diamond for sale should the applicants be interested.

The applicants approached Lukaza, who allegedly confirmed that the parcels were genuine and legitimate. It is alleged that the applicants demanded a guarantee that the money to be paid to Mr Lukaza would cater for the intended purpose.

On June 3, 2003, the parties entered into an understanding in which Lukaza guaranteed to supply 200 kgs of gold to the applicants’ bank of their choice.

Mr Lukaza, acting for and on behalf of Kernel Limited — a company of individuals known to himself and in the company of armed security personnel, allegedly showed the applicants two containers each containing 100kg of gold at a place they were informed to be customs office.

Thereafter the applicants effected the required payments to seal the mineral deal but nothing was forthcoming.

They were allegedly threatened by colleagues of Mr Lukaza. They left the country fearing for their lives and with no gold or diamond in their possession.

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