Senior Halotel Tanzania, Zantel officials in court over fraud charges
Tanzanian prosecutors on Wednesday charged two chief executives of mobile phone companies and four other suspects with fraud as part of a crackdown against tax evasion.
The executives charged were Le Van Dai, 35, managing director of Halotel Tanzania, owned by Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel, and Sherif El Barbary, managing director of Zantel.
The suspects denied the charges at a court in Dar es Salaam and were sent to remand, pending trial. They were charged with illegally importing and operating communications equipment that allowed them to fraudulently by-pass the government’s telecommunications traffic monitoring system.
Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority officials said the suspects were found in illegal possession of close to 300,000 unregistered mobile phone SIM cards, which were allegedly used to send and receive international SMS.
President John Magufuli sacked the head of the telecoms regulator in 2016 for failing to monitor the industry, resulting in the loss of potential tax revenues of over $180 million a year since 2013.
Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority officials said the suspects were found in illegal possession of close to 300,000 unregistered mobile phone SIM cards.