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Kubenea charged over unlawful entry into country

KINONDONI Parliamentary candidate through ACT Wazalendo, Saed Kubenea, appeared before Arusha Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday, charged with two counts, including unlawful entry into Tanzania and failure to declare currency amounting to 28m/-, while crossing the country's border from Kenya.

The 49-year-old former Ubungo Member of Parliament under Chadema denied the charge before Senior Resident Magistrate's in Charge Matha Mahumbuga. He was remanded for failure to meet bail conditions extended to him by the court.

Trial magistrate had bailed the opposition political leader and journalist by profession on conditions of depositing in court 14m/- as cash bail or surrender a title deed of immovable property certified at similar amount. He was also required to secure two reliable sureties, who were to sign bail bond.

The case was adjourned to September 21, 2020 for mention, as investigations into the matter led by Principal State Attorney and Assistant Director Shadrack Kimaro, Senior State Attorney Abdallah Chagula and State Attorneys Felix Kwetukya and Innocent Njau, have not been completed.

Prosecuting, the trial attorney told the court that on September 5, this year at Namanga Border within Longido District in Arusha region, Kubenea unlawfully entered the United Republic of Tanzania from Republic of Kenya without endorsement of his passport issued by the immigration.

The court heard that on the same date at the border within the district of Longido, the accused person entered  the country's territory, while in possession of currencies including 8,000 US dollars (about 18.4m/-), 491,700 Kenyan shillings (about 9.34m/-) and 71,000/-.

The amount estimated at a total of 27.81m/-, according to the prosecution, exceeded the prescribed amount and the accused persons could not declare the same as per law to the customs authority.

Earlier, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Biswalo Mganga, issued a statement, indicating his authorisation to prosecute Kubenea of the two criminal offences upon being satisfied with evidence. The unlawful entry count is against section 45 (1) (i) of the Immigration Act, as revised in 2016.

The other count on failure to declare currency is contrary to Regulation 4 (1), 5 (1) and (5) of Anti-Money Laundering (Cross - Border Declaration of Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments) Regulations, 2016 read together with section 28 B (1) (a) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, No. 12 of 2006, as amended.

Mr Mganga explained in the statement issued yesterday that he had discovered Kubenea to have crossed the border to Nairobi in Kenya using panya routes and then returned to Tanzania without using the official border on September 5, 2020.

At the same time he also discovered that Kubenea imported foreign currency without issuing a formal legal declaration contrary to the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, read together with Section 28B (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, No. 12 of 2006.

The DPP explained that on September 05, 2020, the Tanzania Police Force arrested Kubenea in a passenger vehicle with registration number T 645 DKR coming from the Tanzania-Kenya border, Namanga area on his way to Arusha city.

According to the statement, immediately after being searched, the politician was found, among other things, with the 8,000 US dollars, Kenyan shillings 491,700 as well as 71,000/- and Super Coach bus ticket with registration number KCP 4230 of September 05, 2020 from Nairobi, Kenya to Namanga.

He was also found with a 'Memorandum of Understanding between Hali-Halisi  (Tanzania), Buni Media Limited (Kenya), payment receipt of a hotel called After 40 Hotels Limited of Nairobi, Kenya bearing the name of Kubenea, Saed Ahmed as a guest from September 3 , 2020 to September 5,2020 and passport.

The DPP went on explaining in the statement that immediately after his arrest, Kubenea stated that he arrived in Arusha City on September 2, 2020 from Dar es Salaam and arrived at a hotel in Arusha city.

“Kubenea further explained that, on September 3, 2020 he went to sleep  at his brother’s residence and then on September 4, 2020 left for Namanga and received the above mentioned cash from a Kenyan citizen,” reads part of the statement.

However, the DPP stated in the statement that immediately after reviewing the evidence gathered he found that Kubenea did not arrive at the hotel he mentioned in Arusha city, nor did he sleep at his brother residence as he stated.

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Author: FAUSTINE KAPAMA

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