China Sonangol International Holdings Ltd, the Chinese government investment firm, has been plunged into fresh controversy following revelation that it procured obsolete aircraft for the Tanzanian flag carrier. One of the three aircraft purchased by China Sonangol, a Dash 8 300 series operated by Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd (ATCL) crashed in April at Kigoma Airport in western Tanzania, injuring 35 passengers and four crew members. The aircraft is now a write-off. A detailed report by the Controller and Auditor seen by The EastAfrican last week says that China Sonangol, as the lead investor in ATCL with a 49 per cent stake, in 2007 leased two secondhand aircraft contrary to a memorandum of understanding entered with the government of Tanzania that same year, after the breakup of the partnership with South African Airways in September 2006. The planes were a Bombardier Dash 8-Q300 and an Airbus A320-214 that was all of 10 years old. In January 2009, the Airbus A320 underwent a Check D, also known as a Heavy Maintenance Visit, which is done after every four to five years. Subsequently in July 2010, the aircraft was returned to the lessor, a Lebanese firm, Wallis Trading Company. The government on paper incurred a loss of $39 million on the lease of the Airbus, which according to the report did not fly. But the report further shows that the debt accumulated from the transactions with the Lebanese firm rose to Tsh322 billion ($200 million), enough to purchase three brand new Airbuses of the same series. According to Airbus Aircraft 2012 Average List prices, the purchase order price of a brand new Airbus A320 series is $88.3 million. Controller and Auditor General Ludovick Utouh says that the government involvement in business decision making at ATCL is a serious problem.