Tanzania has kicked of legal actions against a UK contractor it hired to carry out road works but dissapeared with millions of dollars without starting the work, chief executive of the country’s roads agency Patrick Mfugale has confirmed.
The UK contractor identified as STRADA International was hired in 2013 to build a 26km road from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to the gem mines of Mirerani.
However, soon after signing the contract in 2013, the contractor disappeared in 2014.
Addressing the media, Mr Mfugale revealed that the company disappeared with more than 22 billion Tanzania shillings – around $9.8m at current exchange rate.
“The government has initiated legal proceedings against the UK contractor with the aim of recovering the money. The firm disappeared without starting the job,” he said.
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The road finally opened this week making history as the first paved road in Simanjiro District.
This is after the government hired a Chinese contractor, China Henan International Cooperation Group in 2015, which did get the road built at a cost of 32.2 billion shillings ($14.3m), supervised by LEA International Engineering of Canada, and in association with a local firm known as DOCH Tanzania.
Companies House in the UK has just one company registered in that name.
Strada International Building & Civil Engineers Ltd was incorporated in February 2011 with an address in Middlesex, England.
An annual return filed in 2012 lists four directors, three of them British and one, a Mr Elimboto Sinda Isingo, a Tanzanian national with a service address in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A 2013 accounts for a dormant company said Strada had just £100 in the bank that year, and the same in 2012.
The road is expected to boost the economy of the area, especially tanzanite mining at Mirerani which has led to the flourishing of other economic activities in the semi-arid area and ease transportation between Mirerani to Arusha and Moshi.