Suspect tried to bribe cops - witness

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ONE of the accused persons in “Queen of Ivory” trial, Salivius Matembo(39), attemptedtobribe police officers to prevent them from arresting him in connection with illegal dealings in 706 pieces of elephant tusks worth 5.4bn/-.

This was said by a prosecutionwitness, CorporalEmmanuel Mahenda, when he was giving evidence at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday, before Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi.

Led by State Attorney Paul Kadushi, the second prosecution witness told the court that on May 14, 2014, while in his office at the police headquarters, he was summoned by the Director of CriminalInvestigations(DCI) for assignment of duties.

Among the duties assigned, according to the witness, were to look for and arrest the accused, who was previously suspected of being involved in unlawful dealings in government trophies. The witness narrated that on May 21, 2014, he and a police detective received a call from an informer that the accused had been seen at a bar in Sinza.

According to him, they rushed to the scene andfoundtheaccusedpersontaking a drink. “We approached him and after introducing ourselves the accused wanted to run away. We managed to prevent him since we had organized ourselves very well. We finally got hold of him,” the witness testified.

Thereafter, he explained, they informed their leader over such development, who directed them to take the accused to Kijitonyama Police Station. While on the way, the witness went on, the accused asked them to let him free as he would give them some money.

“We refused the offer and latersurrenderedhimtothepolice station as directed,” the witness told the court. When cross-examined by Advocate Jeremiah Ntobesyaoverthe briberyallegations, Corporal Emanuel informed that he reported the matter to the Deputy DCI for further legal action.

Other accused persons in the trial are Chinese Yang Feng Clan (66), commonlyknownasQueen of Ivory, and Manase Philemon (39). The prosecution alleges that between January 1, 2000 and May 22, 2014 in the city, all the three accused persons conducted the said business.

It is alleged that the trio bought and sold 706 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 1,889kg valued at 5,435,865,000/-, the property of United Republic of Tanzania, without a permit from the Director of Wildlife.

The prosecution alleged that within the same period and place, intentionally, Clan organised, managed and financed a criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling the elephant tusks without having a permit.

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