THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday confiscated gold worth 989m/- and foreign currencies to the tune of 700m/-, which were found in the illegal possession of two Zanzibari businessmen, Naushad Suleiman and Ali Juma,.
In addition to that, Principal Resident Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri sentenced the duo to either pay a total fine of 6m/- or go to jail for five years after convicting them of two counts relating to conspiracy with other people to export the minerals in question to Dubai.
The impounded minerals are seven bars of gold weighing 18.354kg, valued at 989,766,850/- , while the foreign currencies include 288,180 US dollars, 27,595 Euros, 2,985 Canadian dollars, 8,540 Saudi Arabian Riyal,44,330 United Arab Emirates Dirham and 25,528 Oman Real.
Others are 1,160 South African Rand, 40 Swiss Francs, 1,230 Indian Rupees, 10 Bahrain Dinar, 201 Chinese Yuan, 8.00 Qatar Riyal, 131Malaysian Ringgit, 1,000 South Korean won and 8,375 Pound sterling.
The prosecution told the court that the accused had planned to spend the money on facilitating crimes. The magistrate convicted the two accused persons on their own plea of guilty, taking into consideration several factors advanced by the parties, including the mitigation factors of defence and the prosecution’s submissions on the seriousness of the offences.
Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, who was assisted by State Attorney Jehovanese Zacharia , had requested the court to mte out severe punishment to the two businessmen in order to serve as a lesson not only to them, but also to others who would be tempted to commit similar offences.
He had submitted that the acts by the accused persons of exporting minerals outside the country without permits were detrimental and had negative effects on the nation’s economy.
The prosecution had alleged that between November 1 and 29,2017, at an unknown place in Geita Region, Suleiman and Juma, alias Babu Ali, jointly and together, conspired with other persons not in court to export gold outside the country.
It was alleged that on November 29, 2017, at Abeid Aman Karume International Airport within Zanzibar in the United Republic of Tanzania, they exported to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates seven bars of gold weighing 18.354kg, valued at 989,766,850/- from Tanzania.
In mitigation, the advocate of the duo, Emanuel Safari, requested the court to pass lenient sentences on his clients because it was the first time for them to be convicted of a criminal offence and that they decided to plead guilty to save the court’s time and other inconveniences.
He submitted that the decision by the accused persons to surrender the gold whose value was colossal, as well as the foreign currencies of different denominations valued at big amounts, was enough punishment for them and therefore, they deserved to be given minimum sentences.
Presenting the memorandum of facts of the case, the prosecution said that while aware that they had no licence to deal with minerals and in furtherance of their common intention, the accused persons collected gold from Geita and other places within Tanzania Mainland.
The court heard that the duo brought the minerals to Dar es Salaam and thereafter took them to Zanzibar, ahead of exportation.
Through their illegal activities, the accused persons also raised foreign currencies of different denominations that would enable them facilitate the mission outside Tanzania.
Thereafter, the accused persons made travel arrangements for Dubai and on November 27, 2017, they hid the gold in a bag ready for the journey, but were intercepted and arrested at Abeid Aman Karume International Airport in Zanzibar.