HEARING of a narcotic drugs’ case involving a couple, Abdul Nsembo and his wife Shamim Mwasha, took off before the High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division, with Government Chemist Fidelis Segumba confirming that heroin causes mental illness, among other effects.
Mr Segumba, a Government chemist with a first class rank, told Judge Elinaza Luvanda that other effects of heroin are causing irreversible alcoholism to the consumer and that such dangerous narcotic drugs are in the first list of toxic drugs.
He was giving evidence as first prosecution witness in the trial of the couple, who are facing two counts of trafficking in 275.40 grams of Heroin Hydrochloride, which are narcotic drugs allegedly committed on May 1, 2019 at Mbezi Beach area within Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam city.
Led by State Attorney Constantine Kakula for the prosecution, the witness testified that on May 2, 2019, an officer with the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), Mr Suleiman Juma, went to his office and presented to him five envelopes containing some substances for analysis.
According to him, the envelopes bore different labels, notably mark A containing 232.70 grams of powder, B having 68.52 grams of powder, while envelope C contained 8.27 grams of powder, envelope D had 42.70 grams of the substances and envelope E contained 7 grams of powder.
“Two of the envelopes investigated, that is, envelope A and D contained narcotic drugs of heroine type, while the other three envelopes contained no drugs,” the witness told the court.
According to him, the envelope marked A contained powder wrapped in a white cloth covered in bright nylon and inside there was white powder, while inside the other envelopes, that is, B to E, there were containers with powder.
The witness told the court that he started the analyzing process, and after completing the exercise, he wrote a report and signed on it.
The witness requested the court to receive the report as an exhibit in the trial.
The application was greeted with strong objections from defence advocates Juma Nassoro, Josephat Mabula and Hajra Mungula, who forcefully submitted that the witness did not meet the requirements of the law to present the exhibit in question.
They told the court that the report was not obtained from the Office of the Chief Government Chemist but rather it was availed to the witness by the prosecuting attorney while giving evidence in court.
However, trial attorney Kakula requested the court to overrule the objections raised.
He countered that objections lacked merits and had been presented prematurely as the advocates could have reserved the arguments later.
In his short ruling, the trial judge agreed with the prosecution submissions and admitted the report as exhibit after holding that defence’s arguments were premature.
Another witness called by the prosecution was Kelvin Charles, who works with a company dealing in cleanliness at Utumishi House.
The witness told the court that on May 2, while at his working place, he was called by a woman who was identified to him later as Inspector Johari.
He testified that she asked him to accompany her to witness the packaging of an exhibit at DCEA offices. On reaching there, the witness went on, he met two other people, who were later introduced to him as Abdul Nsembo and his wife Shamim Mwasha.
After the introduction, he found a white cloth bag, covered with nylon with white flour inside. Such exhibits were marked as A to E, which were individually sealed in envelopes.
The exhibits were later wrapped in front of the duo, who happened to be husband and wife. Thereafter, according to the witnesses, he and the two wrote their names and appended signatures.
The witness identified the two people in the dock before concluding his testimony. Nsembo was arrested by DCEA in May 2019 at midnight while hiding on the ceiling of his house at Mbezi Beach, Dar es Salaam.
He was arrested alongside his wife Shamim for allegedly having heroin after being searched at their home for six hours.
Speaking on the issue after the arrest of the duo, DCEA’s Operations Commissioner, Lieutenant-Colonel Fredrick Milanzi, claimed that Nsembo was among the major drug dealers who they had been investigating and searching for a long time.
“You see Nsembo has a large network, if you ask them they will tell you he is so tricky and has been doing this business for some time now. For these people to find them with two to three kilograms is not strange,” he is quoted as saying.