x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Investor denies WikiLeaks cable claim he bribed Tanzanian leader

He described the claim in the WikiLeaks cable, which was released in February 2006, as 'monstrous and totally untrue'.

DAR ES SALAAM // A UAE businessman has denied allegations that he offered gifts to Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president, and donated US$1 million (Dh3.7m) to the ruling party in exchange for investment deals there.

The managing director of Albwardy Investment, which is owned by the Dubai-based investor Ali Albwardy, called the accusations published by WikiLeaks from a February 2006 US cable "monstrous and totally untrue".

"At no time has a bribe been either requested or given to President Kikwete by Mr Ali Albwardy," Philip d'Abo said in a statement issued through the president's office in Tanzania yesterday.

The US cable said Mr Albwardy, who owns a hotel chain in Tanzania, flew the east African leader to London on a shopping trip and bought designer suits for him.

A spokesman for the president denied Mr Kikwete had accepted gifts from Mr Albwardy.

"This is a total fabrication, as is the part concerning the $1m donation to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.

"At no time has Ali Albwardy given President Kikwete anything that can be construed as a bribe, " the spokesman said.

The US cable comes at a sensitive time for the CCM as it faces possible fallout from graft allegations against other senior members, including a former prime minister.

The files show the claims were made to the former US ambassador to Tanzania, Michael Retzer, by an Australian national who was a director of the Kilimanjaro Hotel, bought from the state by Mr Albwardy.

* Reuters