31 January 2013

Tanzania: Hearing of Ponda Case Resumes On Thursday

HEARING of the trial of the Council of Islamic organization's Secretary Gen-eral, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda, resumes on Thursday at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam.

According to the court's order is- sued on January 17, 2013, the prosecution is expected to continue calling other witnesses in attempt to prove the charges against the Muslims leader, who stands trial alongside 49 others.

The prosecution has charged Sheikh Ponda and his alleged followers with conspiracy, trespass and criminal possession of property owned by Agritanza limited on a plot situated at Markaz, Chang'ombe area, in Temeke District. They are also accused of steal- ing building materials from Agritanza limited including 1,500 bricks and 36 tonnes of aggregate and iron bars, all worth Sh59.6 million.

The prosecution has already called five people to give their testimonies in the case, mostly leaders of the Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) and officials from Agritanza limited. The last witness to be called was Hafidh othman, a consultant and business partner with the company.

In his evidence in chief, the witness claimed that his company is the legal owner of the four-acre plot at Chang'ombe which it obtained from Bakwata in exchange with a 40 acres plot located at Kisarawe in Coast Region.

During the trial, Senior State Attorney Tumaini Kweka, is leading the prosecution team, while Advocate Juma Nassoro and Counsel Yahaya Njama are defending the accused.

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