Police officers sentenced 20 years over abuse of power

ARUSHA: THE Resident Magistrate’s Court in Arusha Region has sentenced the former police officers, including Senior Superintendent of the Police, Hillary Komba (47) and two co-accused to serve 20 years each in prison for abuse of power.

Other convicted officers are Police Constable (PC) Bartholomeo Maya (42), and PC Apolinary Burretta alias Kaburu (50).

Delivering the judgment on Friday, Principal Resident  Magistrate, Regina Oyer said the court was convinced that the accused committed the offence after going through the evidence presented to the court by both the defence and prosecution sides.

She told the court that she had established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Komba and his associates had abused their authority to search Professor Justin Maeda’s home without first adhering to police procedures.

The prosecution led by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) Prosecutor, Christopher Nyasonga, said, the convicted individuals had illegally searched Professor Maeda’s home, falsely accusing him of being involved in the illicit elephant tusk trade and yet requesting him to pay a 100m/- bribe in exchange for his release.

Elaborating, Nyasonga noted that, in order to complete the mission, Komba and the six other police officers planned with Professor Maeda’s farm attendant   on March 19, 2021, and they were able to sneak three pieces of fake elephant tusks into his property.

After that, they went armed and searched and uncovered the loot.

He claimed that the loot was hidden in beehives in the field, and that although they were able to persuade the victim to offer a bribe of 100m/-, they were only able to obtain 73m/-.

The court was also informed that three other previous suspects, PC Zakayo Gerad, the driver, PC Obeid, and the senior investigating officer, Tito John (44), had been released from custody because there was insufficient evidence to support allegations of bribery and misuse of authority against them.

According to Magistrate Oyer, Tito and his associates were released because there was insufficient proof, as attested to by all the witnesses who testified in the case, that they were involved in the incident involving the demand for bribes and the misuse of power.

Earlier before the judgment, Nyasonga asked the court to punish the accused severely in order to serve as a lesson to other police officers with similar behaviour.

For their part, Komba and his company requested a lighter sentence from the magistrate on the grounds that they were sorry for the offence, it was their first time, and they were depended by their parents and relatives.

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