THE Court of Appeal has confirmed the 20 years imprisonment sentence and the 85,980,000/- fine imposed on drug lord, Abdallah Rajab Mwalimu, for trafficking from Tanzania 54 pellets of Cocaine Hydrochloride, which are narcotic drugs, weighing 716.5 grammes worth 28,660,000/-.
Justices Batuel Mmilla, Ferdinand Wambali and Mary Revina ruled against Mwalimu, the appellant, after dismissing all grounds of appeal he had lodged in attempt to fault the findings of the High Court, which had conducted the drugs trial in the first instance.
“Consequently, basing on the deliberation with regard to all grounds of appeal, we find the appeal lacking in merit. In the result, we dismiss it in its entirety,” they declared in favour of the Republic represented by State Attorneys Elizabeth Mkunde, Batilda Mushi and Candid Masua.
During hearing of the appeal, the appellant had complained, among others, that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
In their judgment, however, the justices of the appeals court said "We have no hesitation to conclude that the prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt."
“We are satisfied that the trial judge properly evaluated the evidence for both sides and in the end she came to a right conclusion that the appellant did not raise reasonable doubt to the prosecution case,” they said.
The justices pointed out that in the circumstances of the case they were settled that the witnesses who testified for the prosecution at the trial were credible and reliable to ground the appellant's conviction.
Indeed, they said, the exhibits which were tendered at the trial rendered credence to the fact that the appellant was involved in the commission of the offence he was charged with and convicted of by the trial court.
“We further find that as the appellant defecated pellets immediately after his arrest, there was no need to refer him for X-ray examination.
Besides, there is no law which mandatorily requires that such an examination should be conducted regardless of the circumstances in a particular case,” the justices said.
Furthermore, they had no doubt that prosecution witnesses elaborated clearly their finding after analyzing the pellets in which it was confirmed that the chemical substance contained therein was cocaine hydrochloride as backed by the report of the analysis.
The justices also noted that the testimony on how the pellets were seized from the appellant after his arrest is also fully supported by his cautioned statement which was admitted as exhibit and the statement of a police officer, which was as well admitted as exhibit during the trial.
“In this regard, in view of the evidence in the record of appeal it cannot be validly concluded that the prosecution case was not proved to the required standard as claimed by the appellant,” they said.
Indeed, according to the justices, the exhibits which were tendered at the trial rendered credence to the fact that the appellant was involved in the commission of the offence he was charged with and convicted of by the trial court.
The allegation laid in the information was to the effect that on February 4, 2011 at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), within Ilala District in Dar es Salaam Region, the appellant was found trafficking from the United Republic of Tanzania 54 pellets of the narcotic drugs.
Mwalimu was arrested on the material day at 1330 hrs at JNIA while in the process of checking in for departure to South Africa by British Airways. Upon being suspected, he was held by the police and placed under custody at the Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) at JNIA offices (ADUJNIA).
The prosecution witnesses established that while in custody at JNIA at different intervals from February 4 to 7, 2011, the appellant defecated 54 pellets that contained narcotic drugs.
Such defecation was witnessed by several officers both from the police force and other government departments who worked at the JNIA.
Those pellets were sent to ADU office at Kurasini, Dar es Salaam where upon February 7, 2011 they were packed and sealed.