Is V.G. Chavda back in town?


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Zee la shamba

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Fresh controversy erupts over current immigration status of notorious businessman deported in 1996

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

CONFUSION surrounds the current immigration status of controversial businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal Chavda, who was kicked out of the country in the 1990s following his alleged involvement in massive funds misuse at the Bank of Tanzania.

The Indian national better known as V.G. Chavda was declared a prohibited immigrant (PI) and deported in 1996 after being implicated in various improprieties linked to the erstwhile debt conversion programme (DCP) - much similar to the present-day BoT external payment arrears (EPA) scandal.

Official government records show that Chavda was heavily incriminated in the course of a parliamentary probe into the allegations of widespread fraud and embezzlement of hundreds of millions of shillings under DCP auspices.

The report of the 1994 parliamentary probe team, chaired by then legislator Edward Oyombe Ayilla, recommended that Chavda should be prosecuted in court, declared persona non grata, and expelled from the country.

But according to sources familiar with the case, after his 1996 deportation V.G Chavda briefly returned to Tanzania in September 1997, and again re-entered the country in March 2002.

It is understood that the prominent businessman was allowed back into the country on the basis of his being required to testify in judicial proceedings in local courts.

However, records also show that when Chavda was initially deported, government authorities stated clearly that his physical presence would not be necessary for the court cases, and instead he could be represented by private lawyers or even his wife.

It has further been learnt that in 2003, the High Court in Dar es Salaam issued another order for Chavda to leave the country latest by March 10, 2006.

He then rushed back to court to seek an injunction to stop the Immigration department from expelling him to his home country of India.

And in 2004, the then Jaji Kiongozi Hamisi Msumi, issued a ruling that directed the Immigration department to issue Chavda with ’’the relevant immigration document which will entitle the applicant (Chavda) to legally stay in Tanzania until the cases filed against him are completed, or for an aggregate period of two years, which ever precedes the other.’’

According to Msumi’s ruling, the two-year period was supposed to end on March 11, 2006, after which Chavda would have no legal status to stay in Tanzania whether the cases against him were concluded or not.

Independent legal experts contacted by THISDAY now describe Chavda’s latest reported re-entry into the country as a clear violation of the Immigration Act of 1995, which prohibits any person declared a prohibited immigrant from being granted a permit to enter Tanzania.

Noting that the law also states that ’’entry to Tanzania by a foreigner is only possible either by the non-citizen holding a residence permit or visitor’s pass,’’ the legal experts said they were quite baffled as to how Chavda was able to return to the country despite being officially deported.

When contacted in Dar es Salaam, Immigration Services authorities could also not immediately explain the cloud of mystery surrounding Chavda’s current immigration status.

A spokesman for the department, Abdi Ijimbo, requested more time to come up with a comprehensive statement when asked by THISDAY to comment on the matter.

Source: ThisDay
 

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V.G Chavda: The questions build up

-Is his PI status still in force?
-If so, how has he escaped justice for so long?

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

TOP judicial authorities in the country appear to have hit a brick wall in their efforts to see that a 1996 deportation order against notorious businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda is enforced, THISDAY can reveal today.

It has been learnt that apart from the High Court, the Attorney General’s Chambers has also been pushing in vain to ensure that the man implicated in a massive Bank of Tanzania (BoT) funds misuse scandal remains prohibited from entering and staying in the country, as officially directed no less than 11 years ago.

Government documents seen by THISDAY show that on May 5 last year, the AG’s Chambers sent a written reminder to the Director of Immigration Services in the Ministry of Home Affairs of the need to enforce a 2004 ruling on Chavda issued by the then Jaji Kiongozi at the High Court, Hamisi Msumi.

Judge Msumi’s ruling explicitly directed the Immigration department to issue Chavda with ’’the relevant immigration document which will entitle the applicant (Chavda) to legally stay in Tanzania until the cases filed against him are completed, or for an aggregate period of two years, which ever precedes the other.’’

This two-year period was supposed to end on March 11 last year, after which � according to the High Court ruling - Chavda would have no legal status to continue staying in the country whether the cases against him were concluded or not.

And the AG�s letter of May last year, signed on his behalf by state attorney Donald Chidowu, called on the Immigration department to take appropriate measures to implement the order, saying in part:

’’Since the ruling date was 11th March 2004, then the time for stay in Tanzania has elapsed, and given the fact that the said Chavda didn’t appeal against the decision, now act according to law, on this issue, in compliance with any other necessary procedures.’’

The Indian national was declared a prohibited immigrant (PI) and deported from the country in 1996 after being inexorably linked to various improprieties related to the BoT’s debt conversion programme (DCP), in a well-publicised scam bearing striking similarities with the present-day BoT external payment arrears (EPA) scandal.

Official government records show that Chavda was heavily incriminated in the course of a parliamentary probe into the allegations of widespread fraud and embezzlement of hundreds of millions of shillings under DCP auspices.

The DCP affair and Chavda’s alleged involvement dominated media headlines and generated much public debate for a long time - until it eventually fizzled out.

Fresh queries made by THISDAY to immigration department spokesman Abdi Ijimbo regarding Chavda’s current immigration status have remained unanswered to date.

Under the country’s laws, a prohibited immigrant (PI) is declared via section 10 of the Immigration Act No. 7 of 1995.

The legislation states that: ’’A person whose entry or continued presence in Tanzania is, in the opinion of the Minister (for Home Affairs) or Director (of Immigration Services), undesirable, can be declared by the minister or the director to be a prohibited immigrant, except that every declaration of the director under this paragraph shall be subject to confirmation by the minister, whose decision shall be final.’’

In 2002, the city-based Law Associates advocates firm sent a written ’legal opinion’ to the government saying V.G Chavda - already declared a PI - then proceeded to violate a ’visitor’s pass’ given to him under section 13 (1) of the 1997 Immigration Regulations to ’’answer a subpoena or summons to attend a court proceeding’’ in the country.

The pass said to have been given to Chavda was only to attend the court session and give evidence in a particular case, and did not extend to engaging in any prescribed trade, business, profession or other occupation, the law firm stated, adding:

’’The said person (Chavda) was only given pass to enter Tanzania for the purpose of giving evidence to a particular case. The pass was only for a period of one month. While here in Tanzania, the said person has breached the provision of immigration regulations.’’
 

Dua

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Bunge lina kikao Dodoma hivi hakuna mbunge anayeweza kupata jibu kutoka kwa waziri? Inakuwaje wezi kama huyu ambaye alilitia taifa hasara kubwa na kuwatukana WTZ kuruhusiwa kuwa TZ? Nani awajibike na makosa kama haya? Hivi kuna raia wangapi kama huyu ambao wanajipenyeza kwa milango ya nyuma?
 

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The story of V.G Chavda: How the original 'job-seeker' from India 'made it' in Tanzania
THISDAY REPORTER: Dar es Salaam said:


CONTROVERSIAL businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda, who is now believed to have somehow successfully circumvented an 11-year-old deportation order against him, is an Indian national who first came to Tanzania in 1978 seeking expatriate employment with the government, it has now been established.

Investigations by THISDAY have verified how although Chavda came from relative obscurity in his home country of India, within a couple of decades in Tanzania he was able to amass a small fortune, only to end up being entangled in one of the biggest financial scandals in Tanzanian history and declared a prohibited immigrant (PI) in 1996.

Sources familiar with Chavda's early years in the country say he first applied for expatriate work in the then Ministry of Lands, but on failing this he joined the Dar es Salaam-based private firm B.J Amuli Architects on a Class 'B' residence permit No. 24608 which the local company had applied and obtained for him.

It is understood that he worked with B.J. Amuli for about a year before entering into a service contract with another local company, Builders (V.M. Chavda) Limited, where he was employed as ''an expatriate architect and planner.'' At the beginning of his contract with Builders (V.M. Chavda) Limited, V.G. Chavda was given another Class 'B' residence permit No. 21907 issued on May 31, 1979.

About 10 years later (1989), V.G. Chavda is reported to have controversially obtained a Class 'A' residence permit No. 0043562 under dubious circumstances and contrary to a clause in the country's immigration law that says only ''serious foreign investors'' in Tanzania can qualify for such a permit.

In V.G Chavda's case, it is understood that he was given the Class 'A' residence permit despite the fact that he was not an investor of any kind but came to the country simply as a normal job-seeker.

This obvious contravention of the law by officials in the country's Immigration Services Department was apparently the start of a series of instances where more national laws plus both court and even presidential orders would be repeatedly breached in favour of Chavda.

It is now believed that when in the 1990s the government through the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) initiated the debt conversion programme (DCP), Chavda by this time recognised as a budding local businessman - was given preferential treatment as holder of a Class 'A' residence permit.

Under the DCP aimed at reducing the country's external debt and boosting economic growth in some selected areas of the economy, such local businessmen were allowed to buy out the debt at a discounted price by paying off the external creditors in foreign currency on behalf of the government, which would then reimburse them (businessmen) in Tanzanian shillings an amount equivalent to the redeemed debt.

The programme was started because of the acute shortage of forex then being experienced by the government. But in the wake of increasing suspicions and allegations of improprieties in the administration of the DCP funds, a parliamentary committee was formed in 1994 to investigate the payments being made by the BoT to several of the businessmen, including V.G Chavda.

And amongst the discoveries made by the Bunge probe team, chaired by then legislator Edward Oyombe Ayilla, was that in one instance whereas Chavda paid off external debts on behalf of the government in foreign currency worth just 2,523,947/- in Tanzanian currency, the central bank then 'reimbursed' him with a staggering 915,755,147/-.

The parliamentary probe team also uncovered that Chavda used three sisal companies owned by himself - namely Tanfarms Limited, Makinyumbi Estates Limited and Centrepoint Investments Limited - in the alleged scam to grab excess funds from the central bank.

He is also reported to have bought the over 5,000 hectares of sisal estates hitherto owned by the government for just 15m/-, and soon afterwards received a 100m/- 'compensation' from the state after a portion of the land was used to erect new electrical poles.

The probe committee further established that he had allegedly 'cooked' (forged) minutes of deliberations and resolutions from meetings purported to be of the boards of directors of the sisal companies. In its recommendations, the Bunge committee advised the government to institute criminal charges against Chavda, declare him a prohibited immigrant (PI), and deport him out of the country. The government duly declared Chavda persona non grata in 1996, and subsequently deported him to his home country of India.

However, he was never charged with any criminal offences in Tanzania, and there are now growing fears that his PI status may also have been covertly tampered with by the powers-that-be.
MP's are in Dodoma right now, we would like to know from the minister of Home affairs what is happening with this saga. Who is behind this lunatic? Heads should role.
 

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And amongst the discoveries made by the Bunge probe team, chaired by then legislator Edward Oyombe Ayilla, was that in one instance whereas Chavda paid off external debts on behalf of the government in foreign currency worth just 2,523,947/- in Tanzanian currency, the central bank then ’reimbursed’ him with a staggering 915,755,147/-.
Yaani hapi wahusika walijua moja kwa moja kuwa wanamuongezea Mtanzania deni ambalo litamuelemea mwananchi wa kawaida, lakini kwa faida ya watu wawili au watatu wahusika wanaendelea kuwaumiza walalahoi sijui wangapi, yaani hawa wahusika wanatakiwa wakamatwe wapelekwe kwenye firing squad.



The parliamentary probe team also uncovered that Chavda used three sisal companies owned by himself - namely Tanfarms Limited, Makinyumbi Estates Limited and Centrepoint Investments Limited - in the alleged scam to grab excess funds from the central bank.

He is also reported to have bought the over 5,000 hectares of sisal estates hitherto owned by the government for just 15m/-, and soon afterwards received a 100m/- ’compensation’ from the state after a portion of the land was used to erect new electrical poles.

Nadhani hii ni wakati ule Mrema aliipigia sana kelele kama sijakosea, wamrudishe jamani mzee wa kiraracha.
 

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Who is protecting Chavda?

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

A TOP legal expert, Prof. Abdallah Saffari, has added his voice to the prolonged legal saga over the current immigration status of infamous businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda by declaring that the continued stay of the controversial Indian national in Tanzania was a blatant violation of the country’s laws.

Saffari, a renowned law professor and expert in criminal law and evidence, said an abusive manipulation of the country’s legal system was allowing the businessman to flout a 1996 Prohibited Immigrant (PI) order and a 2004 High Court ruling -- both effectively outlawing his presence in Tanzania.

’’It is contrary to the laws of the land and a lack of respect to the rule law for the businessman (Chavda) to continue to reside in Tanzania,’’ Prof. Saffari told THISDAY in an interview.

He explained that the country’s laws were being deliberately misinterpreted and violated by a few unethical officials in favour of the businessman.

Prof. Saffari roundly criticised the Immigration Services following its recent controversial public statement in defence of Chavda’s continued stay in Tanzania.

He said the stated position of the immigration office on Chavda was ’’totally wrong’’ and expressed his concern at how the same department that deported the businessman 11 years ago could now come to his unequivocal defence.

’’The immigration department is supposed to respect the wishes of the High Court, which is one of the highest judicial authorities in Tanzania,’’ he said.

He added: ’’It’s obvious that Chavda wants to stay in Tanzania that’s why he is making multiple appeals in order to delay his deportation.’’

Prof. Saffari, who now runs his own law firm -- Saffari Law Chambers -- once taught law at the University of Dar es Salaam and the Centre for Foreign Relations in Dar es Salaam.

The legal limbo over Chavda’s immigration status in Tanzania has been an issue of much debate in the country’s legal circles with the Attorney General’s chambers apparently at loggerheads with the immigration department over the matter.

While the AG’s chambers has been pushing for the deportation of the businessman in line with the PI order and a March 11, 2004 ruling by the then Jaji Kiongozi at the High Court, Hamisi Msumi, some senior officials at the Immigration Services have surprisingly been resisting the move.

On May 5 last year, the AG’s chambers sent a written reminder to the Director of Immigration Services in the Ministry of Home Affairs on the need to enforce Judge Msumi’s ruling.

The AG’s letter to the immigration department explained that Chavda’s time for stay in Tanzania officially lapsed on March 11 last year since he did not appeal against Judge Msumi’s ruling.

Judge Msumi’s ruling explicitly directed the Immigration department to issue Chavda with ’’the relevant immigration document which will entitle the applicant (Chavda) to legally stay in Tanzania until the cases filed against him are completed, or for an aggregate period of two years, which ever precedes the other.’’

The aggregate period of two years granted to Chavda expired in March 2006, but the businessman has somehow managed to continue staying in Tanzania without any revocation of the PI order or Judge Msumi’s ruling.
 

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Who is protecting Chavda?


A TOP legal expert, Prof. Abdallah Saffari, has added his voice to the prolonged legal saga over the current immigration status of infamous businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda by declaring that the continued stay of the controversial Indian national in Tanzania was a blatant violation of the country’s laws.

Saffari, a renowned law professor and expert in criminal law and evidence, said an abusive manipulation of the country’s legal system was allowing the businessman to flout a 1996 Prohibited Immigrant (PI) order and a 2004 High Court ruling -- both effectively outlawing his presence in Tanzania. ’’It is contrary to the laws of the land and a lack of respect to the rule law for the businessman (Chavda) to continue to reside in Tanzania,’’ Prof. Saffari told THISDAY in an interview.

He explained that the country’s laws were being deliberately misinterpreted and violated by a few unethical officials in favour of the businessman. Prof. Saffari roundly criticised the Immigration Services following its recent controversial public statement in defence of Chavda’s continued stay in Tanzania.

He said the stated position of the immigration office on Chavda was ’’totally wrong’’ and expressed his concern at how the same department that deported the businessman 11 years ago could now come to his unequivocal defence. ’’The immigration department is supposed to respect the wishes of the High Court, which is one of the highest judicial authorities in Tanzania,’’ he said.

He added: ’’It’s obvious that Chavda wants to stay in Tanzania that’s why he is making multiple appeals in order to delay his deportation.’’ Prof. Saffari, who now runs his own law firm -- Saffari Law Chambers -- once taught law at the University of Dar es Salaam and the Centre for Foreign Relations in Dar es Salaam.

The legal limbo over Chavda’s immigration status in Tanzania has been an issue of much debate in the country’s legal circles with the Attorney General’s chambers apparently at loggerheads with the immigration department over the matter. While the AG’s chambers has been pushing for the deportation of the businessman in line with the PI order and a March 11, 2004 ruling by the then Jaji Kiongozi at the High Court, Hamisi Msumi, some senior officials at the Immigration Services have surprisingly been resisting the move.

On May 5 last year, the AG’s chambers sent a written reminder to the Director of Immigration Services in the Ministry of Home Affairs on the need to enforce Judge Msumi’s ruling. The AG’s letter to the immigration department explained that Chavda’s time for stay in Tanzania officially lapsed on March 11 last year since he did not appeal against Judge Msumi’s ruling.

Judge Msumi’s ruling explicitly directed the Immigration department to issue Chavda with ’’the relevant immigration document which will entitle the applicant (Chavda) to legally stay in Tanzania until the cases filed against him are completed, or for an aggregate period of two years, which ever precedes the other.’’

The aggregate period of two years granted to Chavda expired in March 2006, but the businessman has somehow managed to continue staying in Tanzania without any revocation of the PI order or Judge Msumi’s ruling.
Sasa ni nani serikalini ambaye anamtetea huyu jambazi?
 

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ANALYSIS: Chavda and fellow bilkers, welcome to Bongolala

NKWAZI MHANGO
St John’s NL, Canada

I WELCOME good news that honourable V.G Chavda is back to Bandar ul Salaam despite being erroneously repatriated. This is the only reason that has forced me to write this welcoming note for him and other bilkers.

First of all, be assured sir, there are many deals out there waiting for shakers and movers like you. So rest assured that your brain, worth millions, will nary become dormant.

Welcome to the country of selfless heroes and heroines who command immense power and know how to exploit. Hither is where being a chameleon, like you, pays. You just approach one zombie in power and feed him or her with whatever lies and then he bravely and watchfully consents to them. You know what? How can he avoid the bait whilst he possesses an empty head and a dog’s heart?

Mentally bankrupt and redundant, pardon me, rich rulers and greedy crooks make it much easier even if you want to take their wives. They’re ready to sell their people to dogs, wolves and hyenas little knowing in the future, the same vampires will devour them!

Our economic oodles used you and retire and now you�re a hero (that saved their faces and reputations); ready braced to be used by the new ones. So why shouldn’t you come back to enjoy and push for other deals?

So it is not bad to extend a welcome hand to brother Chavda to come and join his colleagues that are behind the mighty and untouchables like Kagoda, Meremeta, Mwananchi Gold, Deep Green Finance, Richmond and such.

Kindly, welcome to the hank of zombie, sorry, the brave sir.
Another thing, don't you worry for the media to blow your cover. No police can touch you. You are not a political activist or in the opposition but a money maker. So, as long as you keep allied with us, worry not sir. We’ll protect you ad infinitum. We’re philanthropic extraordinaire especially to foreigners.

Let all trouble makers be warned. Shall any of you touch Chavda or other investors who are, in essence, our guests; we’ll show you why birds do not urinate or cows lay eggs.


Back to Chavda, take it from me brother. Our poets, thinkers, authors and leaders will glorify your name.. The judges, lawyers, Human Rights activists and heroes will stand on your side.

Given that a great many like you are making their voices heard in the parliament, I’d strongly urge you to run for parliamentary seat so that you can represent us as you teach us how to print money.

You can even go to India and import others like you so that they can come and invest in this hank. You indeed will go down in the books of history as your name will be emblazoned in gold and diamond.

I understand you’re smart. If economic vultures, cheetahs, hyenas, ticks and all creepy creatures of the night, however stupid they’re, can easily make a kill in Bongolala, what about you? Shall the wabongo wag their tongues; your partners in upper echelons will mercilessly take them on.

Mad detractors say in this hank all buggers become VIPs and opulent, thanks to consenting to be in bed with foolish and mad crooks in power. If they touch you, though they call us crooks, we�ll rush at them baying for their blood. Yeah.. If you want to know to whom the dog belongs, throw a pebble at it. But ignore these mad creatures and take my word. You'll forever be protected.


Though blind and myopic people think you’re such bad news, they horribly miss the point. Who knows? Are you the brain behind radar and presidential jet scams? What of EPA and NSSF deals? I’m asking this because it needs the brains like yours to commit such sacrilege.

Tell me. How did you survive Mengi’s cull when he took on sharks? Can you please tell how special were your ties with the second phase regime especially with the then Premier JSM?

Are you the one that coached one lamenting shark to gang up with the former PM who was shown the door thanks to his sabotage to the nation through Richmond?

In brief sir, welcome and feel at home in this fools’ paradise. And rest assured, we’ll protect you till the last drop of our blood and not to mention the last cent of our wealth.


mail to:nkwazigatsha@yahoo.com
 

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DCI evasive on Chavda’s fate

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

THE immigration and legal status of controversial Indian businessman Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda remains shrouded in mystery with the country’s top detective unable to explain why the man suspected of looting billions of shillings from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) back in the 1990s has never been arrested and brought to justice.

So far, no Government official has been able to publicly give a straight answer on the controversy surrounding Chavda. While the Prime Minister himself, Mizengo Pinda, has stated in Parliament that he is not aware about Chavda’s continued presence in Tanzania, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Commissioner of Police Robert Manumba, was also markedly evasive when confronted by THISDAY about the same issue.

’’I am not aware of Chavda’s arrest and I won’t take any further questions on that matter. I have only one answer for you - I don’t have any information about this person. If I do get some information, I will inform the media about it,’’ DCI Manumba said in an interview in his office.

He had been asked to explain whether or not the police had any plans to arrest Chavda sooner or later.

Official questions sent by THISDAY to the Attorney General’s Chambers several months ago regarding Chavda’s current immigration status have also remained unanswered.

The Indian national was in 1994 named by a parliamentary probe committee as a key beneficiary of fraudulent payments made by BoT through the debt conversion programme (DCP), much similar to the present-day external payment arrears (EPA) account embezzlement scam at the central bank.

Among other things, the Bunge probe team advised the Government to arrest Chavda, charge him with the looting of DCP funds, and deport him from the country after serving his sentence upon conviction.

In the event, Chavda was never charged with any criminal offence over the matter. But the immigration department did slap him with a deportation order. And although he was indeed deported in 1996, he returned a few years later, and has since been residing untouched in Dar es Salaam.


It has yet to be explained why the Government has not enforced the prohibited immigrant (PI) notice against Chavda, or a High Court ruling against his continued stay in the country.

Our findings have confirmed that Chavda is still in the country, residing in Dar es Salaam, and continues to engage in dubious business dealings.

Informed sources say Chavda is a close associate of a prominent businessman involved in the EPA scandal.


’’It is even believed that he (Chavda) was actually one of the main architects of the present-day EPA scandal, from behind the scenes,’’ said a source familiar with the matter.

In 2003, Chavda offloaded some of his sisal estates in the country that were used to receive billions of shillings in fraudulent payments from the BoT under the DCP scheme; an issue raised in Parliament last week by Muheza legislator Herbert Mtangi (CCM) with a query into the circumstances surrounding the sales.

In May this year, Kigoma North legislator Zitto Kabwe (CHADEMA) also sought a Government clarification in Parliament on why Chavda is still living in Tanzania todate despite the continued existence of the deportation order issued against him more than a decade ago.

Responding to Kabwe’s question, Premier Pinda said at the time that the Government was not aware of Chavda’s continued presence in the country.

Investigations by THISDAY have long established that Chavda is an Indian national who first came to Tanzania in 1978 and rose from rags to riches through a string of dubious transactions.
 

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