Revelations in DCP fraud case: Bunge report implicates Subbash and Jeetu Patel DUBIOUS DEALINGS Nimrod Mkono -Names them alongside V.G Chavda -Also fingers top lawyer Mkono THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam Prominent local businessmen Subbash Patel and Jeetu Patel were among high-profile individuals implicated by a parliamentary probe team in the alleged embezzlement of Debt Conversion Programme (DCP) funds from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) way back in the 1990s, it has been established. According to the findings of the 1994 parliamentary committee investigation led by the then Rorya legislator, Ayombe Ayila, both Subbash and Jeetu were among beneficiaries of dubious payments made by the BoT under the DCP banner, in a scam that bore all the hallmarks of the present-day EPA scandal. While Jeetu has been charged with involvement the EPA scandal, he was never indicted for the DCP scam. Subbash and other individuals linked to the DCP scandal also escaped prosecution despite the scathing report of the Ayila probe team. They were primarily investigating the involvement of another controversial businessman, Vidyadhar Girdharlal (V.G) Chavda, in the DCP scam, and in the process stumbled upon the fraudulent payments also made to Jeetu Patel and Subbash Patel. The committee's report said there was a dubious relationship between V.G Chavda's plantations that received fraudulent payments from the BoT, and Subash Patel through his various companies including DECO ART, M.M Motors, MM Garage, Hotel Sea Cliff and City Bureau De Change. The Ayila committee report also raised suspicions over business dealings between Chavda and prominent lawyer Nimrod Mkono. ''It is claimed that V.G Chavda was re-assigned the debts of DECO ART, a company owned by Subbash Patel, which also claimed to have initially assumed the debts from Lazard Brothers, a UK company,'' says the report. It continues: ''After Chavda received payments from the central bank, Chavda in turn paid Subbash Patel through his companies - M.M Motors and M.M Garage - a total of 515,995,375/-, on the pretext that these companies had supplied various equipments, tools and machinery for his plantations on credit.'' However, the report also noted that the same funds paid by Chavda to M.M Motors were later used to purchase foreign exchange currency from City Bureau De Change, which is also owned by Subbash Patel. The report said there was a fraudulent relationship between Chavda and Subbash, that facilitated the looting of the public funds from the central bank. Mkono, who was Chavda's lawyer at the time, reportedly filed a High Court application seeking a permanent injunction to stop the work of the Ayila committee. ''This is the same lawyer (Mkono) who witnessed the re-assignment of the (DCP) debts to Chavda,'' says the report. Apart from his continuing capacity as proprietor of the Mkono & Company Advocates law firm, Mkono also currently serves as member of parliament for the Musoma Rural constituency. Further reveals the report: ''There is something fishy here...Nimrod Mkono was also the resident director of Oxford Services Limited, and is also the proprietor of Marcus Limited - companies that both benefited from a total of 4,477,870,279.61/- from the DCP funds.'' The Ayila committee also traced illegal payments from the central bank to several companies owned by Patel, including Azania Agricultural Enterprises, Liberty Leather Shoe Limited, and Azania Eximco, all of which fall under the AIMS Group of companies. Fresh investigations by THISDAY have established that the committee questioned Jeetu Patel on September 9, 1994, as part of its investigation of the DCP scandal. ''Jeetu Patel conspired in the preparation of forged documents purporting to show that he received 82,295,000/- from V.G Chavda for consultancy fees, stationeries, printing and equipment. A report from the office of the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) revealed that such payments were false,'' asserted the committee�s final report. It quoted the then home affairs minister, Augustine Mrema, as saying that both Jeetu Patel and V.G Chavda were fraudulently paid out of the DCP funds a total of 661,274,660/-, without practically producing any goods or services. In its recommendations, the committee advised that a formal government investigation be launched into Jeetu Patel and the whole DCP programme. The committee also recommended that V.G Chavda should be declared a prohibited immigrant (PI) and formally charged with embezzlement of funds from the Bank of Tanzania. Although Chavda was indeed kicked out of the country in 1996, he returned a few years later, and is understood to be still living in Dar es Salaam, while efforts by the Attorney General's Chambers to enforce the PI notice and a High Court ruling against his continued stay in the country have failed so far. The Chavda saga resurfaced in parliament last month with Kigoma North legislator Zitto Kabwe seeking answers from the government as to why Chavda was still residing in Tanzania. Responding in the august House, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said he was not aware of the matter, and pledged to make a follow-up.