THE Resident Magistrate court in Mwanza has set free eight policemen who were initially charged with economic sabotage and soliciting bribes by allegedly facilitating an attempt to smuggle 323.6 kilograms of gold in the lakeside region early this year.
Acquittal of the law enforcement officers who were charged through economic sabotage case number 1 of 2019 follows a notice by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who informed the court that the office had decided to drop the case for ‘national interests.’
The eight police officers who were exonerated include head of operations in Mwanza Region, SSP Moris Okinda, E.6949 Corporal Kasala, F.1331 Matete, G. 6885 Alex, G. 5080 Maingu, G. 7224 Timothy, G.1876 Japheth and H.4060 David Kadama.
The eight police officers plus four business men were facing charges which include money laundering, economic sabotage, organized crime and corruption. The businesspersons had initially pleaded guilty to the crimes, paid fines and walked to freedom.
State Attorney Castus Ndamugabo assisted by Emmanuel Luvinga told the court on Wednesday that much as hearing of the case was scheduled for July 20, 23, 23 and 25, this year, the DPP had decided to drop the charges facing the law enforcement officers.
Reacting to the development, the defense counsel for the accused, Mr Deo Mgengeli, assisted by advocate Fidelis Mtewele, concurred with the prosecuting attorneys.
The DPP dropped the charges by exercising his powers through Section 91 (1) of the Criminal Procedures Act and its amendments which were revised in 2002. “The DPP office is the one which filed the charges, and it also has the powers to withdraw the case from the court at any time,” the defense counsel noted.
The Resident Magistrate of Mwanza, Ms Roda Ngimilanga, agreed with issues raised by the DPP and acquitted the accused in the landmark case which sent shockwaves across the country.
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, Mwanza Police Commander (RPC), Jumanne Muliro said the police had been informed of the decision by the court.