The Vodacom Tanzania CEO, Hisham Hendi and eight co-accused were on 11th April, 2018 released after pleading guilty to the accusations against them and paying Tshs.6 billion ($2.6 million) fine.
On top of the fine paid, the court also confiscated the equipment that was involved in the alleged committed crime.
Vodacom Tanzania later on in the day released a press statement stating the company had agreed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to amicably resolve the matter. The statement further read that in accordance with international best practice, Vodacom Group and Vodafone Group Plc have retained the highly respected global law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, to conduct an internal review into the facts underlying the charges brought by the DPP.
Hisham Hendi and six other officials of Vodacom Tanzania were on Wednesday 3rd April arraigned before court for economic sabotage crimes. Mr. Hendi, an Egyptian was charged alongside Vodacom Tanzania`s head of Revenue Assurance Mr. Joseph Nderitu Gichui, Director of Legal Services Olaf Peter Mumburi , the Head of Enterprise Sales Joseph Muhere, Key Account Manager Ibrahim Bonzo, and Vodacom Tanzania PLC.
Others charged along Mr. Hendi for causing loss of Tshs.5.8 billion ($2.5 million) to government were the Business Operations Manager of Inventure Mobile Tanzania Ltd, Mr. Ahmed Ngassa and his company`s Information Technology specialist, Brian Lusiola who are charged with occasioning a Tshs.642 million ($279,130) loss to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
Mr. Hendi and his counterparts were charged with organizing a criminal racket which caused the government and the TCRA suffer pecuniary loss of Tshs.5.8 billion ($2.5 million). Mr. Ngassa and Lusiola of Inventure Mobile Tanzania were charged with unlawful importation, installation and maintenance of electronic communications equipment identified as PROLIANT MLI GEN 9 SERVER (PABX VIRTUAL MACHINE) without a TCRA licence. The accused also unlawfully operated the machine for receiving or transmitting international incoming voice calls without a licence in the period April 17 2018 to 11 March 2019.
With intent to avoid rates payable for receiving or transmitting international incoming voice calls, the accused dishonestly transmitted communication by terminating international incoming voice calls. They as well unlawfully used the equipment to receive and transmit electronic communications signals without TCRA approval. Further, the accused under Vodacom Tanzania`s permission fraudulently used 813 Vodacom Tanzania PLC virtual numbers without having any relevant individual or class assignments from TCRA. The accused were not allowed to enter into any plea because their case falls under economic sabotage offences, which the court in which they were arraigned does not have jurisdiction to preside over.
Vodacom Tanzania is the only telecom firm to have listed. It raised Tshs.489 billion ($213million) in the initial public offering (IPO) in 2017, Tanzania’s largest ever, which attracted more than 40,000 local investors, most of whom were first-time participants in Tanzania`s stock market.
In June 2018, prosecutors charged CEOs of telecoms operators Halotel Tanzania, owned by Vietnam-based Viettel, and Zantel with fraudulent use of network facilities. The executives were later released after paying a fine.