Tanzania: DPP Drops State House Peacock Trial

THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dropped the criminal charges against six Chinese nationals who were being accused of illegally acquiring a peacock from the State House in Dar es Salaam.

This followed the DPP's decision to enter "nolle prosequi" certificate in favour of the senior officials with Sinotor Shipping Company.

The beneficiaries of the certificate are Yuang Qing (55), the Director, Chen Shiguang (45), the Manager, Gu Jugen (57), a Technical manager, Jin Erhao (35), the Transporter, Shun Nan (50), who works at the shipping company and Chegfa Yang (49), a businessman.

Senior Resident Magistrate Rashid Chaungu, who was hearing the matter at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam, discharged the accused person after receiving the certificate which was presented by Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon on behalf of the DPP. Nolle prosequi is legal Latin meaning "to be unwilling to pursue".

It is used for prosecutors' declarations that they are voluntarily ending a criminal case before trial or before a verdict is rendered.

The declaration may be issued when it happens that the charges cannot be proved due to unavailability of vital witnesses or failure or refusal of the witnesses to cooperate or the evidence adduced is too weak to carry the burden of proof or the evidence is fatally flawed in light of the claims that are brought.

The DPP entered the certificate under section 91 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), explaining that he has lost interest in continuing to prosecute the Chinese on three offences they were jointly charged with.

The charges include leading organized crime, having possession of goods suspected to have been unlawfully acquired and unlawful possession of government trophies.

The prosecution had told the court that on August 1, 2020 along Sokoine Drive Area In Ilala District, jointly and together, all accused persons willfully managed a criminal racket of unlawfully acquiring a Peacock valued at 500 US dollars, equivalent to 1,155,000/-.

The court heard that on the same day and place in Dar es Salaam, the accused persons were found in possession and having control over one Peacock with the said market value suspected to have been unlawfully acquired.

It was alleged by the prosecution that on the same day and place in the city, all the accused persons were found in possession of the Peacock, which is a government trophy, the property of the United Republic of Tanzania, without a permit from the Director of Wildlife Division. Before the DPP's decision, Advocate Capt.

Ibrahim Bendera, for the accused persons, had requested the court to strike out the charge of unlawful possession of the government trophy, alleging that it was defective. The defence counsel told the court that under section 3 of the Wildlife Conservation Act, the peacock is not an animal listed among government trophies.

The state attorney, however, had responded that the court could not entertain the defence's request for lacking jurisdiction. According to him, the case against the Chinese was filed under the Economic and Orgainised Crime Control Act, which could only be heard by the High Court.

The trial attorney told the court that the lower court could hear the case upon being granted consent by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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