EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Written by: Faustine Kapama for Daily News
A retired army officer, Abson Chaula (57), and two other people, appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, charged with the unlawful possession of five pieces of elephant tusk, worth over TZS163 million.
Other accused persons were Said Cheleko (42), residing in the Kibamba area, and Leonard Bamie (41), a security guard living in the Msasani Mikoroshini area. They were not allowed to submit a plea to the counts because their case will be heard by the High Court.
Such a case, according to the law, could be heard by a lower court after securing consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Resident Magistrate Godfrey Mwambapa, who conducted the proceedings, ordered the accused persons to remain in remand until 2nd November, when the case will be mentioned.
The prosecution, led by state attorney Elizabeth Mkunda, and assisted by Elia Athanas, informed the court that investigations into the matter have not been completed. It is alleged that the accused persons committed the offence on 30th September 2016 at Jangwani area in the Ilala District.
On that day, according to the prosecution, the accused persons were found in possession of five pieces of elephant tusk between them, which are government trophies certified at a value of US$75,000 (equivalent to TZS163,650,000), without a permit from the Director of Wildlife.
Meanwhile, the same court yesterday threw away the request for bail advanced by businessman Ally Raza (34), who is charged with importation, possession and storage of prohibited fishing gears, all valued at over TZS22.9bn.
Resident Magistrate Godfrey Mwambapa ruled that his court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Such request under current circumstances, she said, could only be dealt with by the High Court.
Advocate Lomani Lamwai, requested the court to grant his client bail because he was not involved in the first count that falls under the Economic Crime and Control Act, which is triable by the High Court. However, the prosecution strongly opposed the application, explaining that the whole case has been lodged as an economic case and that the law was very clear that any application under such circumstances could only be entertained by the High Court, which is vested with such jurisdiction.
Apart from the three found in possession of ivory, other accused persons in the matter are a Chinese woman, Fu Chang Feng (50), and a businessman residing in the Mchikichini area, Jeremiah Kenenge (45).
It is alleged that, on 4th October, Feng and Kenenge imported a container with 499 bags of monofilament nets valued at TZS7.49m into Tanzania from Shanghai, China. Such goods, according to the prosecution, were prohibited for importation and use in the country. The court heard further that on 5th October 2016, all the accused persons were found to be storing prohibited fishing gear at Ilala-Mafuriko Street in Ilala District.
The prosecution told the court that the fishing gear was stored in 325 bags containing 187 pieces of monofilament net, valued at just under TZS15.2, which are prohibited for storage and use in Tanzania.
It is further alleged that on the same day and place in the city of Dar es Salaam, all the accused persons were found in unlawful possession of 50 bags containing 200 pieces of prohibited fishing gill nets, with less than three inch meshes, valued at TZS300m.