24 August 2017

Tanzania: Manji's Heroin Test Disputed in Court

Confusion reigns whether the urine tested and found with morphine, which is metabolites of heroin, belongs to prominent businessman Yussuph Manji (pictured) or a police officer, Corporal Sospiter.

Such confusion arose after Government Chemist Domician Dominic, when giving evidence at Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dares Salaam yesterday failed to ascertain who among the two men had discharged the urine which he analysed to detect the presence of the illicit narcotic drug.

He was being cross-examined by seasoned Advocate Hudson Ndusyepo during hearing of the trial, in which Manji is charged with consuming Heroine (diacetyl-morphine).

Mr Dominic, who was testifying as third prosecution witness, told Principal Resident Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha that what he had analysed was a urine sample presented to him by the police officer after the two had entered into a toilet.

During cross-examination, the advocate for Manji had wanted to know whether the senior officer with the Chief Government Chemistry Laboratory Agency had been watching when the accused was discharging the urine in question.

The witness explained that after arrival of the two men at the Agency's Office, he was called to conduct the urinary analysis, but before doing so he gave the police officer a special container and directed him to take Manji to the toilet, where the two locked themselves from inside.

"I am not in a position to know who discharged the urine in the container. But what I know is that the urine presented to me by the police officer after coming from the toilet. I cannot tell if there was an exchange of the samples," the witness testified, causing laughter from back benchers.

During further cross-examinations, Mr Dominic was taken by surprise by the defence counsel when he was shown a response letter written by the Chief Government Chemist, Prof Samwel Manyele, showing that Manji was not taken to the agency for urinary tests.

However, referring to the letter dated April 12, 2017, addressed to Prime Attorneys, the witness quickly responded that the name of the person whose urine was tested was Yusuf Ali Manji, while the name that appeared in the response letter was Yusufali Mahbob Manji.

In his evidence in chief led by Principal State Attorney Timon Vitalis, the witness told the court that on February 9, this year, while in his office, Corporal Sospiter came with some suspects, including Manji and the leader of Glory of Christ of Tanzania Church, Bishop Josephat Gwajima, for urine tests. He testified that the preliminary test on the urine taken from Manji revealed the presence of Benzo Dizepies.

The witness presumed that the accused had been using the drugs maybe after been prescribed by his doctor to reduce pains or make him sleep. The witness explained further that he undertook the second stage, which is called confirmation test, which indicated the availability of morphine in the urine, which is a metabolite of heroin.

When cross-examined by the advocate on the matter, the witness admitted that Benzo Dizepies could be prescribed by a doctor or a person could buy them. He clarified that such drugs could be used as painkillers or makes such person sleep and that they are allowed but controlled.

The witness further told the court that a person with severe pains could be given heroin, in particular morphine and that there are different drugs prescribed by doctors to patients whose components have morphine.

Mr Dominic concluded, therefore, that when conducting the urine test presented to him and found with morphine he could not know the owner had used what type of prescribed medicine. After such testimony, the prosecution closed its case.

The magistrate said he would deliver his ruling tomorrow whether Manji has a case to answer or not. In the trial, the prosecution is alleging that Manji Committed the offence on diverse dates between February 6 and 9, this year, at Upanga Sea View area within Ilala District in the city.

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