10 November 2012

Tanzania: State Drafts Anti-Drugs Bill

Dar es Salaam — The government has said the draft bill to empower the special anti-drugs task force is underway.

The Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliament), Mr. William Lukuvi stressed that the government is serious in its fight against narcotic drugs.

"The bill would help in controlling and empowering the established special anti-narcotics body to deal with the alarming problem of drugs and their abuse," Lukuwi said while responding to East African Business Week.

Lukuvi said the problem of drugs is now alarming. According to him between January and May this year a total of 9,929.63 kilos of bhang 234,061.43 kilos of heroin and 16,845.29 grammes of cocaine were impounded.

He said 144 kilos of heroin were impounded between 2003 and 2009. In 2010 about 185 kilos were seized and in 2009 alone there were 27,516 drug cases while 41,232 suspects were arraigned.

Lukuvi stressed the current Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking Act had loopholes which convicted dealers used to evade penalties.

He cited a case in Dar es Salaam which involved the owner of a machine for manufacturing illicit drugs that was returned to the accused instead of being confiscated and the accused be jailed for 30 years or life.

The minister revealed a total of 15,942 drug users underwent rehabilitation and health checks between 2008 and 2010. He added that several Tanzanians have been arrested abroad and some of them sentenced to death.

"Between 2005 and 2010 a total of 211 Tanzanians were arrested abroad, and some were executed while others were sentenced to jail," Lukuvi said.

He associated the rate of people infected with HIV being among users of narcotic drugs having increased to 42% as compared with 5.8% of users of non-illicit drugs.

While the problem of drug abuse and trafficking is revamped, just four youths convicted to life imprisonment by a trial judge were set free by the Court of Appeal of Tanzania due to lack of corroborated prosecution evidence.

The youths who were recently set free by the highest court in Tanzania were Abuhi Omary Abdallah, Hassan Hussein Hassan, Salum Jabiri Kivurande and Abdallah Omari Zimbwe, who returned to civil life after incarcerated since 19th February, 2006, when they were arrested by Police at Peninsula Hotel in Mtwara town, in the southern part of Tanzania, purportedly having 273 pellets of heroin hydrochloride from Mozambique into the country.

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