“Personally, I have never engaged in such pyramid scheme. None of the prosecution witnesses gave evidence here that I received deposits from DECI members,” he told Resident Magistrate Stuart Sanga when giving his defence against charges he is facing.
Mtelesi is among five top officials with the Development Entrepreneurship for Community Initiative (DECI), who has been charged with operating a pyramid scheme by receiving deposits and providing returns to members of the public without a licence.
However, when crossexamined by Senior State Attorney Prosper Mwangamila, the reverend with Jesus Christ Delivery Church admitted that he had been operating the company together with three others, who are among the accused in the case.
He told the court that though he was not directly involved in receiving “seeds” from DECI members and distributing profits there from, the company had employed some other people to coordinate such activities at different branches in the country. Mtelesi accounted well the procedure to be followed for one to become eligible DECI member, including depositing an entry fee of 30,000/- before being allowed to start sowing seed ranging between 10,000/- and 200,000/-.
But when questioned whether such a scheme had all the blessings of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the accused was not certain on the matter as he claimed there were some negations between his company and the Central Bank on the issue.
The prosecution later showed him a letter by BoT governor addressed to the managing director of DECI, which prohibited the company from taking any deposits, whether by force or voluntary from members of the public. The accused explained that the amount of money found in his three bank accounts was his and had nothing to do with DECI.
“The money is all genuinely mine. I got the money from my normal businesses as I have been running three stationary shops. I had a contract with DECI of supplying stationary,” the accused said, without disclosing the amount of money found in the bank accounts in question.