High Court sentences ‘drug dealer’ to life imprisonment

THE High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division (Mbeya Sub-Registry) has sentenced drug dealer Keneth Mwamwaja to life imprisonment for trafficking in Heroin Hydrochloride, weighing 248.91 grams, which are dangerous narcotic drugs.

Judge Yose Mlyambina issued the sentence against the accused person after convicting him of the offence he was charged with by the prosecution.

He ruled that the prosecution sufficiently proved the economic case against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt after producing sufficient evidence.

“I hereby convict the accused person Keneth Mwamwaja for the offence of trafficking narcotic drugs contrary to section 15 (1) (a) and (3) (i) of the Drugs Control and Enforcement Act No. 5 of 2015 as amended read together with paragraph 23 of the first schedule to, and section 57 (1) and 60 (2) of the Economic Organised Crime Control Act,” he ruled.

The judge pointed out that it was the court’s finding that the prosecution proved their case beyond reasonable doubt that powder substance that was seized kept in the  brown envelop under the accused’s bed was narcotic drugs commonly known as heroin hydrochloride.

According to him, it was the accused person who was found trafficking in the narcotic drugs.

Before reading the sentence, Judge Mlyambina took into consideration mitigation factors advanced by the accused person through his Counsel Lucia Richard.

The counsel had beseeched the court to issue a lesser sentence based on four reasons,including arguing that the  accused was the first offender who had already spent five years in custody.

The counsel also prayed that the offender was the bread winner for his family, adding that he was still young aged only 37 years of age who was still potential for the nation development.

On the other hand, the prosecution through State Attorney Stephen Rusibamaila conceded that the accused was the first offender, but was quick to seek severe sentence against the accused person considering the effects of narcotic drugs to the society.

Citing  section 15(1) (a) of the Drugs Control and Enforcement Act under which the accused person was charged the judge said  whoever traffics narcotic drugs and convicted must be sentenced to life imprisonment, thus there was no alternative sentence.

“As submitted by State Attorney Stephen, the effects of narcotic drugs to the society is serious. I find there is a need to protect Tanzanian society from   drugs abuse. In the circumstances, I hereby sentence, the accused person Keneth Mwamwaja to life imprisonment,” the judge declared.

He noted from the scientific opinion adduced before the court by the government expert in relation to the effect of the narcotic drugs to human being that, narcotic drugs,   apart from causing death and addiction can damage the brain of the user(s).

According to him, brain is a complex organ that controls all functions of the human body including but not limited to breathing, movement, personality and other crucial processes that keep people alive.

“That is a grisly murder. Narcotics kill someone’s ability to work, breathe, move and reason while he is alive. As a result, they create a burden to the family, society and government and  affect the country’s economy,” the judge noted.

It was alleged by the prosecution that on June 2, 2019 at Jakaranda B area in Mbeya Region, the accused person was found trafficking in narcotic drugs, namely Heroin Hydrochloride weighing 248.91 grams.During the trial, the prosecution produced five witnesses.

In order to determine the guilt of the accused person, the court had to consider four issues.

They include whether powder substance packed in a transparent nylon covered by a khaki envelop was heroin hydrochloride, the accused person was the one found in trafficking the drugs, chain of custody was unbroken and maintained and if the defence raised any reasonable doubt on prosecution’s case.

Having gone through the evidence tendered by both parties, the judge answered the first issue affirmatively, saying  that the cocktail of expert opinion and the evidence of other prosecution witnesses proved that the powder substance recovered from the accused room was no other than heroin hydrochloride.

On the second issue, whether the accused person was the one who was found while trafficking in narcotic drugs, the accused person had conceded that something was recovered under the bed in his bed room where it is only him exclusively who lives in.

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