Court sentences drug dealer to life imprisonment

THE High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division has sentenced drug dealer Ezekiel Kudula to life imprisonment for trafficking in 10 bags containing dry leaves of narcotic drugs namely cannabis sativa weighing 198.41 kilogrammes.

Judge Mustafa Ismail imposed the sentence against Kudula, the accused person, after convicting him of the offence committed on February 8, 2022, at Kitonga Village in Mvomero District, Morogoro Region.

He took into consideration of evidence tendered by five prosecution witnesses and six documentary exhibits.

“I am mindful of the gravity of the offence he has been convicted of and the danger that comes with his indulgence in this unlawful act. Consequent to all that, I sentence the accused person to life imprisonment. This will serve to remind him that crime does not pay,” he declared.

During the trial, the accused person had denied involvement and disowned the bags said to contain narcotic drugs. His contention is that these drugs were recovered from an unknown source and that he found them in the police vehicle that he was bundled into.

In his judgment delivered in Morogoro recently, the judge pointed out that he is not convinced that the drugs were planted onto the accused person and saw no reason for that.

He noted that the accused person stated, quite categorically, that he did not know any of the police officers or an independent witness prior to the incident.

“I see no reason why the police officers would travel all the way to Kitonga village to fix a person that they did not know before. I am overly convinced by the potency of the testimony of (two prosecution witnesses) and hold the view that the drugs were recovered from the accused person,” the judge said.

He pointed out that the testimony of prosecution witnesses gives a blow by blow account of how the substance, believed to be narcotic drugs, was seized, stored and analyzed, resulting in a confirmation that the same were indeed narcotic drugs known as cannabis sativa.

This testimony, especially that of (police officer) and (independent witness), pointed to their involvement in the search and seizure of the said drugs. Their testimony represented a clear picture that it is the accused person, and none else, who was found with the narcotic drugs,” the judge said.

According to him, though it is not evident that the drugs were about to find their way to Dar es Salaam, the fact that these drugs were found in the accused person’s possession sufficiently qualifies the act as falling within the scope of definition of trafficking.

“I take the view that the witnesses who testified for the prosecution presented a story that was coherent, consistent and their credence was impeccable. I have no reason to disbelieve it,” he said.

The judge pointed out that a critical review of the prosecution’s testimony brings a conclusion that both of the criteria for ascertaining credibility of witnesses, that is, coherence of their testimonies and their demeanor were spot on and had nothing but glowing commendation for their impressive show up.

He was convinced that such testimony, in its collective sense, presented a massive impact that outshone the defence testimony and not even the cross examination by the defence was able to blur the potency of this testimony.

“The net effect of all this is to push the prosecution’s case above the requisite threshold that can sufficiently hold the accused culpable of what he is accused of. The totality of evidence adduced convinces me that the accused person committed the offence with which he is charged,” the judge said.

It was alleged that on the fateful day at around 4.00 am, one senior police officer was about to retire after a long night of patrols. He received a call from an informer, telling him that a consignment of narcotic drugs known as “bhangi” was about to be trafficked from Kitonga village, Mvomero District.

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