Court orders confiscation of businessman’s properties

THE High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division has ordered forfeiture to the government of seven properties owned by Tanga City-based prominent businessman Yanga Omary Yanga, who was jailed 30 years for trafficking large quantity of Heroin Hydrochloride weighing 1, 052.63 grammes.

Judge Elinaza Luvanda gave the forfeiture order after granting an application lodged by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against Yanga, nicknamed as “Rais wa Tanga” and held that the plots were tainted properties being acquired or developed within ten years from the date of his arraignment.

“For avoidance of doubt, the following properties are forfeited to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, namely Plot No 32 Block “C” Magaoni in Tanga City and Plot No. 73 Block “A” Mwambani in Tanga,” the judge declared in his ruling dated June 30, 2023.

He named other properties as Plot No. 144 Block “B” Mwakidila; Plot No. 615 and 617 Block “B” Kange; Plot No. 30 Block “C” Mwakidila/Magoani; Plot No. 605 Block “A” Mwambani and Plot No. 606 Block “A” Mwambani all in Tanga City.

The judge held that the properties were amenable for forfeiture for being tainted properties on account of being proceeds of criminal activities of drug trafficking subject for conviction of the respondent in Economic Case No. 1/2020.

He also shared the view of the prosecution that Yanga failed to rebut a presumption that properties he acquired ten years back prior to conviction are tainted and thus proceeds of crime or activities of drug trafficking.

“It is be noted that, I am not placing (Yanga) to an angle that he ought to prove legality of owning the impugned properties, rather my suggestion is that he ought to account or offer reasonable explanation on it, as per the law,” the judge said.

He, however, rejected the invitation by the prosecution to order the forfeiture of other 15 properties, including houses and motor vehicles after holding that the same were not connected to the crime in question.

On November 20, 2020, the High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division sentenced Yanga to 30 years imprisonment for trafficking large quantity of Heroin Hydrochloride weighing 1, 052.63 grammes, which are narcotic drugs.

Judge Imakulata Banzi, who was hearing the economic case before the High Court, Tanga Zone, imposed the sentence after convicting Yanga of the offence. She ruled that the prosecution sufficiently proved the case against him beyond reasonable doubt after considering the evidence tendered by both parties.

Members of prosecution, who prosecuted the case, include Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, Senior State Attorney Pius Hilla, State Attorneys Constantine Kakula, Salimu Msemo, Donata Kazungu and Mseley Mfinanga, a Senior Legal Officer from the Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA).

The judge took into consideration the prosecution’s evidence that such drugs were found in his house at Bombo area in Tanga City when the DCEA officers from Dar es Salaam conducted a search on October 1, 2018 and that Yanga knew and was the one who stored the same for his evil intention.

“I find that the prosecution has proved the case against the first accused (Yanga) beyond reasonable doubt and this court convicts him of trafficking in narcotic drugs,” she ruled.

However, Judge Banzi acquitted two other accused persons, including Yanga’s wife Rahma Juma and their house girl Halima Mohamed after the prosecution had failed to discharge its duty of establishing the charge against them, at a required standard in criminal cases.

The prosecution had charged Yanga jointly with his wife Rahma Juma and their house girl Halima Mohamed of trafficking 1052.63 grammes of Heroin Hydrochloride, which are narcotic drugs on October 1, 2018 at Bombo area in Tanga City.

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