As reported by ThisDay: Jeetu Patel pictured: Amidst new reports of his sighting in Dubai THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam A KEY figure behind the fast-unfolding Bank of Tanzania (BoT) external payment arrears scandal, business tycoon Jeetu Patel, has reportedly disappeared to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as investigators in Dar es Salaam continue to question several other people linked to the embezzlement of over 133bn/- from the central bank. Sources close to the prominent businessman, whose full name is Jayantkumar Chandubhai Patel and who is known to hold a British passport, now say he has been holed up in Dubai City ever since the EPA embezzlement scandal exploded in Tanzania. Jeetu Patel is in Dubai, where he owns some real estate property. I dont think hell be coming back to Tanzania any time soon, said a source familiar with the businessmans movements. According to THISDAY findings, Jeetu Patel is the bona fide owner of at least nine of the 22 companies illegally paid billions of shillings from the EPA account using forged documents. It has been officially verified that Jeetu Patel is a listed shareholder in the following companies linked to the central bank scandal; Navycut Tobacco (T) Limited, Ndovu Soaps Limited, Bina Resorts Limited, Bencon International Limited and Maltan Mining Company Limited. Others are Bora Hotels & Apartments Limited, Venus Hotels Limited, B.V Holdings Limited, and VB & Associates Company Limited. Most of the companies owned by the businessman were registered in April 2005, just a few months before becoming recipients of EPA funds amounting to billions of shillings through the use of false and forged documents. While Patel is now reported to be in the desert resort paradise, questioning of various other personalities believed to be involved in the EPA funds issue is proceeding in Dar es Salaam as part of the high-level investigation ordered by President Jakaya Kikwete. Investigators operating from a government building in Mikocheni have already taken sworn statements from some of the registered owners of companies identified as having received the EPA money, another source told THISDAY. Apart from Jeetu Patel, other interesting names linked to companies that benefited from the dubious EPA payments are Beredy Sospeter Malegesi, Johnson Lukaza, and Elisifa Ngowi. Most of these people who are in Dar es Salaam have been repeatedly interrogated by investigators over their knowledge of the fraud as company shareholders. But so far, Jeetu Patel seems to have avoided the grilling sessions, said our source. Jeetu Patel was also identified in a 1994 parliamentary committee investigation as one of the key architects of the infamous Debt Conversion Programme (DCP) funds misuse scam at the BoT - which was quite similar to the present-day EPA scandal. Although the Bunge probe committee chaired by former MP Edward Oyombe Ayila recommended a thorough government investigation and prosecution of the businessman over the DCP scandal, he was never officially investigated. Insiders say Patel enjoyed close connections with a number of senior officials in the third phase government under former president Benjamin Mkapa. THISDAY has also discovered that Jeetu Patel owns an expensive mansion overlooking the Indian Ocean in the upmarket Msasani suburb of Dar es Salaam. Experts say the luxury property on Plot Number 1413, near the Coral Beach Hotel, has an estimated value of around $5m (approx. 6bn/-). He is believed to live in his Msasani mansion alone when he is in town. Apart from owning a string of companies that directly benefited from the EPA account scam, Patel is chairman and managing director of Noble Azania Group, the parent company of several local firms involved in trading, agriculture, manufacturing and automobiles. Companies that fall under the group include Noble Azania Auto Spares Limited, K. N. Cure Limited, Noble Agricultural Enterprises Limited, Holden Ginners Limited, Noble Azania Industries Limited, Noble Foods and Beverages Limited, Noble Distilleries Limited, and Noble Motors Limited. Patel also holds a substantial stake in the recently-inaugurated Bank M (Tanzania) Limited, through Noble Azania Investments. He is one of the banks major shareholders, having invested 1.3bn/- out of its initial listed share capital of 6.5bn/-. Sources say about half of the 133bn/- embezzled from the BoT has long been stashed away in off-shore bank accounts. Dubai, which has no extradition treaties with many countries including Tanzania, has emerged as a favourite resting ground for several individuals with links to the companies listed in the BoT looting.