Big breakthrough in Kagoda probe AT least two prominent personalities behind Kagoda Agriculture Limited company are now part of the 40bn/-embezzled from the Bank of Tanzania's external payment arrears (EPA) account via the ever-mysterious company, THISDAY has learnt. According to our sources close to the ongoing EPA scandal investigation, the duo (names withheld for now) have at last formally admitted their close links with Kagoda, and have stated that they are now ready to pay back a 'larger' part of the looted money. The sources said both are now expected to put their admissions and pledges in writing through signed statements to the case investigators, working under the presidential probe team into the EPA scandal led by Attorney General Johnson Mwanyika, Inspector of Police Said Mwema, and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) chief Edward Hoseah. This development is seen as a significant breakthrough in the probe team's efforts to unravel the seemingly endless cobweb of mystery surrounding Kagoda Agriculture Limited. Though it is understood that various key suspects have in the past admitted before government functionaries to having strong connections to the allegedly 'shell' company, all have tended to strenuously deny such links publicly. Our sources say at least two prominent local businessmen - both understood to have considerable political influence - were indeed questioned at one point by the EPA scandal probe team over their alleged involvement in the scam. One is believed to have either voluntarily presented himself to the probe team, or was formally summoned for questioning directly in connection with his alleged association with the Kagoda company. The company was used to siphon over 40bn/- out of a total 133bn/- embezzled from the EPA account during 2005/06, via fraudulent payments personally approved by former central bank governor Daudi Ballali (now deceased). Both BoT auditors and government investigators have established that Kagoda company representatives presented forged documents to the central bank to facilitate payment of around $30,732,658.82 (approx. 40bn/-). All the forged Kagoda documents were signed between September 10 and November 5, 2005. The company is shown to have signed deeds of assignment of debts with 12 different foreign creditors from across the globe. It is understood that the EPA scandal probe team has now decided to send investigators to both Germany and Singapore to gather 'crucial evidence' about at least two of those creditor companies; Lindeteves J Export BV and Hoechst AG. The investigators are expected to try and ascertain whether Lindeteves J Export BV is headquartered in Germany (Franfurt) or in Singapore, and also ascertain the current status of Hoechst AG. It has been discovered during the investigation in Dar es Salaam that there is no record of when precisely the BoT received the deed of assignment between Kagoda and Lindeteves J Export BV, which was signed on November 11, 2005. Instead there is only a BoT payment document dated December 12, 2005. Available records are also said to indicate the Lindeteves J Export BV headquarters to be in Singapore and not Frankfurt, as purported in the suspect documentation leading up to the transfer of money from the EPA account to Kagoda. Hoechst AG meanwhile is understood to have originally started off as a German chemicals then life-sciences company, later renamed Aventis after merging with Rhone-Poulenc S.A. of France in 1999, and now known as Sanofi-Aventis since 2004. Our sources say the government investigators are trying to ascertain whether Kagoda was assigned the substantial debt by Hoechst AG before or after the 1999 merger with Rhone-Poulenc. As already well-established, there were glaring errors evident in all of Kagoda's documents, including the use of obsolete names of creditor companies, incompatible dates, and poorly-forged signatures. The deeds of assignment seen by THISDAY revealed that the forger(s) of the documents used the same contractual terms and wording for all the different foreign creditor companies. None of the contracts and documents were written on the official letterheads of the foreign companies, with key contact details for representatives of the firms missing. All the Kagoda documents were signed in Dar es Salaam before the same B.M. Sanze, an advocate and notary public and commissioner of oaths. Some documents were dated even before the Kagoda company was officially registered at the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), thus rendering them null and void. Nonetheless, so far no charges whatsoever have been filed against any individuals behind the Kagoda company.