How UK police nailed Dar young millionaire

Updated: August 9, 2011

His fortunes rose suddenly at the age of 34, making him one of the prominent suppliers of fancy cars in the streets of Dar es Salaam, before his dream of becoming a millionaire was shattered by the British Police a few years ago.

Nearly two years since his jail sentence was doubled, the British police this week released the details of Mponjoli Malakasuka, a 38-year-old, currently jailed in UK, after he was accused of masterminding a network that stole and exported posh cars worth Sh3.75billion to Tanzania.

The release of the details follows a request by The Guardian on Sunday filed to West Midlands Police, through our correspondent in London, in January, this year, whereby this newspaper wanted to know the case against a Tanzanian businessman who is now languishing in a UK prison.

After waiting for seven months, finally in complying with the statutory duty, under sections 1 and 11 of the UK’s Freedom of Information Act of 2000, the details of how the Tanzanian businessman was trailed, arrested and jailed have been disclosed by the police.

The request by The Guardian on Sunday follows mixed reports about how the Tanzanian was arrested, whereby some of his relatives were not satisfied with how the case was handled, while some of his close friends believed he was really what the UK police said about him before the court.

Malakasuka’s jail sentence was more than doubled on November 17, 2009, on the day he was to be released from his three and a half year sentence for his involvement in a $2.5 million scam exporting posh cars to Tanzania.

But, UK police, trying to claw back the money he made from his offences, took the case back to court for an enforcement hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

As a result, the 38-year-old from Yew Tree in Walsall was handed an additional four years in jail unless he paid up within 28 days.

Since he couldn’t pay the amount within 28 days, he is now languishing in prison.

A judge at a previous hearing made the order on the basis that Malakasuka had hidden assets in Tanzania and that he should pay out £828,000(Sh2.07billion)

Malakasuka was initially sentenced for conspiracy to steal after he hired cars for companies, before reporting them stolen. He then shipped those stolen vehicles to Tanzania, where they were sold at very cheap prices.

According to the report by the UK’s police, even if the fraudster serves the four years, the debt will remain.

How the Police trailed him

When Malakasuka entered the UK land after spending some years in the United States of America, he had a mission to fulfill - establishing a sophisticated car theft network that would be used to steal and export posh cars to Tanzania and the East African market at large.

To hide his mission, Malakasuka, then aged 32, rented a four bedroom luxury mansion in the posh suburb of Yew Tree of Walsall. He was the only black man who was living in this rich suburb, a move that raised alarm amongst his white neighbours, but since no wrongdoing was connected to him, everything was left to the time to decide.

But, his lifestyle associated with fancy cars, mainly Mercedes Benz S320 Cdi, Porsche Cayenne, BMW and many more, puzzled his neighbours.

After settling smoothly, Malakasuka established a sophisticated car theft network, and also secured a shipping company to transport the stolen vehicles to Tanzania and Kenya market. In his network there was also a department of forging documents, which were then used to export the stolen posh cars.

Posing as an executive from well respected firms in UK, Malakasuka managed to hire various posh cars for private uses, before reporting them stolen.

According to the UK police, Malakasuka had used a variety of sophisticated methods to steal prestigious vehicles which he then exported out of the UK to Tanzania and Kenya.

The cars were stolen both through car key burglaries, and through a variety of identity fraud and fraudulent hire purchase agreements.

He had more than 30 credit cards in various names, 70 bank accounts, and dozens of identity cards, in a move to hide his real identity.

In one incidence, Malakasuka acquired a Porsche Cayenne through hire purchase agreement in late 2007, exported it to Dar es Salaam and sold it at a price of $60,000, before reporting to the UK police that the vehicle had been stolen.

After a vehicles dealers, insurers and tour operators raised an alarm, the UK police decided to trail Malakasuka through a special surveillance system from his home to various places he transacted his businesses.

After few months of surveillance, Police were shocked to notice that the man was using forged identities but also was involved in exporting stolen posh cars to East Africa.

In tallying the details, it emerged that just a few days after the vehicles were shipped outside the UK, the very same person reported that some vehicles in his possession were stolen and claimed insurance after securing the Police lost report papers.

The UK police also expanded their investigation to Malakasuka’s financial transactions in a move to gather more evidence about his car theft network. Police were shocked after establishing that Malakasuka had 70 bank accounts, some operating in his names while others used his close relatives’ names.

Police in the UK were also able to show $250million passing through in excess of 70 bank accounts in the UK and Tanzania, including one account which alone had Sh700million.

Tallying his job in UK, and the amount of money that passed through his bank account plus his fancy lifestyle, the figures weren’t matching at all, leading the UK police to believe that the Tanzanian was a mastermind of a rapidly growing car theft gang.

In their investigation, UK police discovered that Malakasuka’s gang operated across the West Midlands, Staffordshire, the north and London, and he was the ringleader of the criminal group.

On the day of his arrest, Malakasuka, who had no idea that he was being watched closely, went to a Petrol station, purchased fuel using one of the credit cards belonging to one of the 70 accounts connected to him.

At the time of his arrest police discovered Malakasuka to be living a luxurious life in his four bedroom house in the Yew Tree area of Walsall. At his address were pictures of luxury houses in Tanzania into which police believed he had invested his criminal proceeds.

Various documents seized by the police proved what they have been investigating for months.

But, to his neighbours, his arrest didn’t surprise them at all because from the very beginning, they had doubted this young ambitious black man due to his fancy lifestyle.

In their investigation, UK Police were also able to establish that some Mercedes Benz S320 CDi and Porsche Cayenne cars worth $400,000 were stolen and sold in Dar es Salaam to four different buyers between 2007 and 2008.

Finally, Malakasuka was arrested, charged and sentenced for conspiracy to steal after he hired cars for companies before reporting them stolen and shipping them to Tanzania.

During the hearing, the court in UK also accepted the seven expensive houses in Tanzania were proceeds of his criminality.

This, according to details released by the West Midlands Police in UK, plus further details gathered by The Guardian on Sunday, is how the young ambitious Tanzanian ended up in jail abroad.

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