Court throws out drug charges against Manji

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THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday acquitted prominent Businessman Yussufali Manji, who was charged with one count of consumption of heroine, which is a narcotic drug.

Principal Resident Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha ruled in favor of the businessman after the prosecution failed to prove the charge against him beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law in criminal cases.

During the trial, the prosecution led by Principal State Attorney Timon Vitalis, called three witnesses in an attempt to prove the charge allegedly committed on diverse dates between February 6 and 9 this year at Upanga Sea View area within Ilala district in the city.

The prosecution had alleged that Manji consummed heroine (diacety l-morphine). In his defence, however, the businessman told the court that he was allowed by his doctors to use medicines, whose components contain elements of narcotic drugs under which he was charged with.

When delivering his judgment, the magistrate said that the case was too technical as most of the witnesses called, including that of defence were experts in the medical field. He noted from the prosecution’s evidence that even the police had provided Manji with such medicine when he was in their custody.

He questioned why the investigators into the trial did not examine the businessman whether he was using narcotic drugs before taking him to the Government Chemist for urinary examination.

The magistrate noted further that the evidence given by medical experts, including that of Executive Director with the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), Prof Mohamed Janabi, indicated that for a person with stents in his heart, like Manji, he was prohibited to use narcotic drugs.

Prof. Janabi had pointed that the use of such drugs to the patient like the businessman could cause more health complications, notably obstruction of heart vessels. Such testimony was supplemented by two other doctors, one from Temeke Regional Referral Hospital and one from Keko Remand Prison.

The evidence tendered, according to the magistrate, indicated that some of the medicines prescribed to Manji had some elements of morphine, which are prohibited under the laws of the land.

However, he said among such drugs were prescribed as medicine for Manji to cure his illness. Among drugs Manji had been using while in custody include ascrestor, Adderall, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax and Diazepam.

Most of the medicines contained in a medical prescription prepared by an American doctor who was attending to the businessman on his heart complications.

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