FOUR foreigners from Sri Lanka have appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, charged with six economic counts relating to unlawful dealing in 2,140 grams of different minerals without dealer’s or broker licence.
They are Mohamed Hashim (47), Mohamed Muwas (26), Mohamed Yoonus (28) and Mehbood Rattansi (28), all businessmen.
The charges against them include leading organized crime, unauthorized possession and buying of minerals, occasioning loss to a specified authority and money laundering.
All accused persons were not allowed to enter plea to the charges before Senior Resident Magistrate in Charge Godfrey Isaya because his court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, including the question of bail.
The magistrate adjourned the case to January 28, 2021, for mention, as investigations into the matter, according to the prosecution, led by Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon, have not been completed.
Prosecuting, the trial attorney alleged that on or before January 8, 2021 in Dar es Salaam, jointly and together, intentionally and knowingly, all accused persons managed and financed business and affairs of a criminal racket with intent to reap profit or other benefits.
The court heard that on the same date and place, all the businessmen were found in possession of 2,054.4 grams of different unpolished gemstones namely Sapphire, Ruby, Tourmaline, Spine Aquamarine, Zirconia, Almindite, Rhodolite, Chrysoberyl, Feldspar and Amethyst.
Such minerals, according to the prosecution, are valued at 25,788,353.03.
The accused persons are alleged to have been found with the minerals without mineral rights, dealers or broker’s licence.
It is alleged that on January 8, 2021 in Dar es Salaam, the accused persons were jointly and together found in possession of 85.89 carat of different polished gemstones namely Tanzanite, Tsavorite, Rodalite, Sapphire and Ruby, all valued at 17,132,702.01 illegally.
The four businessmen were also charged with unlawful trade of the minerals on the same date and place, they allegedly bought the said minerals, all valued at a total value of 42,921,055.49 outside the designated mineral and gem house.
It is alleged that on January 8, 2021 in the city, by their willful acts of unauthorized possession of minerals, the businessmen caused the government to suffer a pecuniary loss of 2,147,838.78 being royalty and clearance and inspection fees payable to the Mining Commission.
On money laundering, the prosecution alleged that on the same date in the city, jointly and together all the foreigners engaged themselves in property-2,015.4 grams of different unpolished gemstones’ trade and 85.89 carats of unpolished different precious stone.
According to the prosecution, the accused persons knew or ought to have known that at the time of receipt, the said minerals were proceeds of a predicate offence of unauthorized possession of minerals.