High Court sentenced drug dealer to 24 years in Prison

BY FAUSTINE KAPAMA-Judiciary

THE High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division has sentenced drug dealers, Simon Andrew Boaa to 24 years imprisonment for trafficking Catha edulis (Khat) commonly known as Mirungi weighing 116.16 kilograms, which are narcotic drugs.
Judge Immaculata Banzi imposed such sentence against the accused person recently after convicting him of the offense he was charged with. She ruled that the prosecution managed to prove the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

It was the finding of the court that since the accused person was found in possession of the drugs in question in the course of conveying from one point to another; his act amounted to trafficking as per definition of the trafficking under section 2 of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act.

“I find the accused person, Simon Andrew Boaa guilty and I hereby convict him with the offense of trafficking in narcotic drugs...I hereby sentence the accused person to 24 years imprisonment,”judge declared.

She took into consideration the Tanzania Sentencing Manual for Judicial Officers, where a convict of drug trafficking offense under section 15 (1) (a) of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act can be sentenced with a minimum sentence of 20 years towards 30 years which is maximum penalty.

The judge also considered the submission by prosecution of no previous criminal record against the accused and the effect of narcotic drugs on human being as well as mitigation factors as submitted by defense that the accused is the first offender, he spent three years in custody and having dependents.

She was also aware that trafficking of narcotic drugs is a serious offense and on the effects of Catha edulis on human being because according to Analyst report, it causes drug dependence and mental disorder.

“But taking into consideration that the accused person has no criminal records for being first offender and the time he had already spent in custody which is more than three years, it is my considered view that he deserves lenient sentence,” Judge Banzi ruled.

During the trial, the prosecution had told the court that the accused person, who was jointly charged with another person, Abushi Abudallah, who escaped from custody, committed the offense on February 2, 2019, at Kwa Msomali Bomang'ombe area, within Hai District in Kilimanjaro Region.

After hearing the evidence tendered by both prosecution and defense witnesses, the judge had to determine three questions including whether 530 bundles of leaves were seized from the motor vehicle with registration number T443DETmake Toyota Noah.

She had also to determine whether on the material night, the accused person was arrested in the motor vehicle in question and whether chain of custody was maintained.

Having taking into consideration the evidence of nine prosecution witnesses, 15 exhibits tendered and the testimony of the accused person, the judge answered the said three questions in the affirmative.

It was the finding of the Court that, on the material night of incident, the accused person was found in the motor vehicle in question in actual possession of 530 bundles of leaves which were narcotic drugs as per testimony of prosecution witnesses.

“There is no doubt the accused was aware of the presence of narcotic drugs within the secret chambers as they were the only persons found in the vehicle. Unfortunately, the accused person did not give any reasonable explanation on how he ended up in the said vehicle in the middle of the night,” she said.

Facts show that on the material date at around 00:50 am while three police officers were on duty at police barrier of Kwa Msomali, Bomang'ombe area they saw a motor vehicle with registration number T443 DET make Toyota Noah arriving and they stopped it for a routine inspection.

Such vehicle had two persons, Abushi Abudallah, the escapee, who was a driver and the accused person. After stopping, they raised suspicion and asked them what they were carrying. The duo replied that they had nothing.

One of the police officers was satisfied whereby he called and informed the Inspector on duty at the station about his suspicion who instructed him to take the motor vehicle in question and the suspects to the station.

Thereafter, the three police officers boarded in the motor vehicle in question and one of them took the steering to the station. The inspection of the vehicle began on arrival at the station.

In the course of inspection, one of the police officers discovered chambers which were skillfully made at the inner part of the bumper on the front tyres, in the boot and at the entrance of the middle door. All chambers were covered by a piece of tin and tied up with nuts.

Also, the ones in the boot and middle door were concealed by carpet. After seeing that, one of the police officers opened the chambers and after found bundles of fresh leaves suspected to be narcotic drugs, Catha edulis. The bundles were packed in newspapers package. After retrieving, they counted and got a total of 530 bundles. The police officers seized them together with the motor vehicle in question through certificate of seizure, which was signed by one of the policemen, the escapee and the accused person.

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