FOLLOWING evidence from CCTV footage, the Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe has directed the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) to fire six Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) employees allegedly for their involvement in the drugs smuggling to South Africa.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr Mwakyembe named those to be fired as Yusufu Daniel Issa, Jackson Manyonyi, Juliana Thadei and Mohamed Kalungwana who are airport security officers, Zahoro Mohamed Selemani, a porter and Corporal Ernest.
"The ministry is directing TAA to immediately fire its employees who in one way or another helped to pass through nine big bags that contained 180 kilogrammes of narcotics on July 5, this year. The ministry also wants the police force to apprehend all the culprits and legal proceedings to follow," he said.
On July 5, this year, two women travelling from Tanzania were arrested at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, after authorities discovered 150 kg of illicit drugs known as crystal methamphetamine stashed in their luggage.
The drug is better known locally in South Africa as 'tik'. Dr Mwakyembe said the CCTV footage on July 5, this year at 3.28am showed the porter, Mr Selemani meandering around the JNIA passengers' entrance like someone who was waiting for someone.
He said that around the same time the camera showed Yusufu Daniel Issa stepping outside the airport from the passengers' lounge and back in occasionally while talking on a mobile phone, something that is contrary to the ethics of those in the passenger inspection area.
He narrated that on another screen of the footage, it showed the airport police officer, Corporal Ernest in the area where passports are verified looking restless as though waiting for someone. "Eventually at 4.15am sharp, the footage shows two ladies and a gent at the passenger entry point with nine big bags that are alike.
This on its own was enough to alert airport officials because it isn't everyday you see passengers carrying nine pieces of baggage which are the same," he explained.
Dr Mwakyembe said that the two ladies were identified as Agnes Gerald Deal (better known as Masogange) carrying a Tanzania passport No AB440180 and Melisa Edward also with a Tanzanian passport No AB440565 while the gent was Nassoro Saidi Mangunga with a Tanzania passport No AB426496.
The cameras then showed Corporal Ernest frantically assisting other passengers to load their baggage on the screening machine, a duty that isn't his. The porter, Zahoro Mohamed Selemani was seen helping the trio loading their bags on the screening machine and then assisted in wrapping them in plastic paper before escorting them to the South African Airways counter.
Yusufu Daniel Issa was then spotted 'relieving' his colleague, Jackson Manyonyi from the screener seat but contrary to procedure didn't register in the screener's logbook and with near lightening speed, he allowed the nine pieces of luggage through the machine in just six minutes from 4.16am to 4.22am.
The minister said that after the baggage was passed at the screening machine, the trio shifted to the airline counter where three pieces of 20 kilogrammes each were allowed, while the remaining six had to be paid for because of excess baggage.
"As per the requirements of the airline, every extra kilogramme is charged at 5 US Dollar meaning that for the six, they were entitled to pay 600 US Dollars. What is surprising, however, is that they were charged 94 US Dollars which are clarified with a copy of a receipt," Dr Mwakyembe said.
He said that much to their surprise also, the gent, Nassoro Saidi who didn't have a plane air ticket to fly on that day last minute changed his mind and paid 60 US Dollars for rebooking. This being the case, airport security officer, Mohamed Kalungwana wasn't allowed to permit Nassoro inside the airport without a valid ticket.
The minister explained that as is procedure, after luggage leaves the passenger, there is one more security check point with the sniffer dogs but on this particular day, the dogs came after the baggage was placed in steel containers. On Wednesday Dr Mwakyembe said that all the drug traffickers who will be detained from now on will be exposed with their photos printed and televised in all media.