THE High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division on Friday (November 20,2020) sentenced Tanga City-based prominent businessman, Yanga Omary Yanga, nicknamed “Rais wa Tanga” to 30 years imprisonment for trafficking large quantity of Heroin Hydrochloride weighing1,052.63 grammes, which are narcotic drugs.
Judge Imakulata Banzi, who was hearing the economic case before the High Court, Tanga Zone, imposed the sentence after convicting Yanga of the offence.
She ruled that the prosecution sufficiently proved the case against him beyond reasonable doubt after considering the evidence tendered by both parties.
Members of prosecution who prosecuted the case include Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, Senior State Attorney Pius Hilla, State Attorneys Constantine Kakula, Salimu Msemo, Donata Kazungu and Mseley Mfinanga, a Senior Legal Officer from the Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA).
The judge took into consideration the prosecution’s evidence that the drugs were found in his house at Bombo area in Tanga City when the DCEA officers from Dar es Salaam conducted a search on October 1, 2018, and that Yanga knew and was the one who stored it for his evil intention.
“I find that the prosecution has proved the case against the first accused (Yanga) beyond reasonable doubt, and this court convicts him of trafficking in narcotic drugs,” she ruled.
However, Judge Banzi acquitted two other accused persons, including Yanga’s wife Rahma Juma and their house girl Halima Mohamed after the prosecution failed to discharge its duty of establishing the charge against them, at a required standard in criminal cases.
She pointed out that from the beginning the information regarding the illegal deal that was given concerned Yanga only, and that the second accused (Rahma) was not involved, whereas the third accused (Halima) was just a house girl and the items seized from her room were not confirmed to be narcotic drugs.
“The prosecution has failed to prove the charges against the second and third accused persons. I find them not guilty and are hereby acquitted,” the judge declared.
Judge Banzi had to determine four issues before reaching into such conclusion. The first issue related to whether the exhibits which were later confirmed to be narcotic drugs were seized from Yanga’s residence.
She answered the issue affirmatively, saying that there was no doubt that on October 1, 2018, the house owned by Yanga was searched and the exhibits in question were seized and both Yanga and Halima had signed the seizure note, signifying that the same were found in the house.
The second issue related to whether the samples taken from the house were indeed narcotic drugs. Judge Banzi referred to the evidence given by the government chemist, who analysed the drugs and confirmed that indeed they were narcotic drugs - heroin hydrochloride.
The third issue which was also answered in the affirmative related to the chain of custody of the exhibits in question. The judge could not doubt the evidence given by prosecution witnesses, who handled them from the seizure place to the government chemist and later to court, where they were tendered.
The last issue related to whether the three accused persons jointly committed the offence. The judge noted that though Yanga had thrown the ball to his house girl over the knowledge of the samples taken from the cupboard at the house corridor, he was the one who had stored them there for his mission.
During trial, the prosecution summoned seven witnesses and tendered ten exhibits to prove the charge against the accused person, while the accused persons, who were defended by Advocates Majura Magafu, Nehemia Nkoko, Mohamed Kajembe, Kahoza Nicholaus and Denis Tumaini gave their own defence.
Before sentencing, the prosecution asked the court to punish the convict severely considering the seriousness of the offence committed, as well as the effects of the drugs to human life, as well as national economy.
The sentence, the prosecution said, should deter others from committing a similar offence.
On the other hand, the defence requested for lenient sentences as their client is a first offender. They charged that Yanga had family members who depended on him and that he was sick, in particular, he has been facing health complications associated with blood pressure.
The prosecution had charged Yanga jointly with his wife Rahma Juma and their house girl Halima Mohamed of trafficking 1052.63 grammes of Heroin Hydrochloride, which are narcotic drugs on October 1, 2018 at Bombo area in Tanga City.