Tanzania: Court Confiscates 505.1m/ - Container Logs Over Illegal Trade

THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam has confiscated 18 containers of logs valued at 505.1m/- and ordered two businessmen of Indian Nationals to pay a fine of 230m/- for illegal transportation of the consignments.

Principal Resident Magistrate Janeth Mtega gave such order over the weekend after convicting the two businessmen, Manish Khattar and Rajesh Velram, on their own plea of guilty to the charge.

She also gave the duo one year suspended sentence, ordering them not to commit any offence within the period.

The businessmen managed to pay the fine and were freed from remand prison. Before their convictions, the two businessmen were facing a total of seven counts, including transportation of forestry products without permit, organised and managed a criminal racket, forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.

However, the accused persons decided later to enter into a plea bargaining agreement with the Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with a view of pleading guilty to the charge as preferred by the latter, and subsequent ending the criminal trial.

The DPP accepted the request by the accused persons and decided to drop the other six counts, under which they remained with only one count of illegal transportation of forestry products.

Such new charge was subsequently presented in court by Senior State Attorneys Renatus Mkude and Ladislaus Komanya on behalf of the DPP.

After being read over and explained to them, the accused persons entered a "plea of guilty." The court, thereafter, moved to Ubungo Dry Port in Dar es Salaam to inspect and witness the seized logs in the containers.

The prosecution tendered them as exhibits before proceeding to read over the memorandum of facts, of which the two businessmen also pleaded guilty.

Magistrate Mtega went on convicting the two businessmen of the charge on their own plea of guilty and sentences, each to pay 115m/- and gave them suspended sentence of 12 months with an order directing the convicts not to commit any offence within the period in question.

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