Tanzania: The High Court, Dar es Salaam District to Two Chinese Nationals Accused of Illegal Possession of Minerals

THE High Court, Dar es Salaam District Registry, has ordered two Chinese nationals, You Wu and You Song, to deposit in court about 170m/- pending determination of an economic trial they are facing before Morogoro Resident Magistrate's Court in Morogoro Region. Judge Edwin Kakolaki gave such an order as one of the conditions for bail the two foreigners are required to meet.

The two Chinese had approached the court to bail them out in the trial under which they are charged with unauthorised possession of gold minerals weighing 2460.99 grammes worth over 338m/-.

The judge decided to grant bail to the accused persons because the prosecution could not raise any objection. He ordered the accused to deposit in Court cash half of 338,348,875.61 or property equivalent to half the value of the said amount.

According to the judge, the rest of the amount will be secured by execution of bonds in writing.

He ordered each accused to provide two reliable sureties who are to execute a bond of 75m/-each. The judge further directed each surety to satisfy the court that they are either employees of the government or possess a National Identity Card issued by NIDA, with permanent residences within Morogoro Region.

He directed the accused persons not to leave the jurisdiction of the court without prior permission from the Resident Magistrates Court of Morogoro Region at Morogoro and to report to the Regional Crime Officer for Morogoro Region, according to the schedule which will be prescribed by him or her.

The judge further directed verification of sureties and bond documents to be executed by the Resident Magistrate at the Resident Magistrates Court of Morogoro and the accused persons should surrender their passports and any other travelling documents (if any) to the court.

Before the Resident Magistrates Court of Morogoro, the prosecution charged the accused persons that on June 1, 2021 at Isongo village, Ulanga District in Morogoro Region they were found in possession of the minerals without valid mineral right license, dealers' license or broker's licence.

During hearing of the application, both counsels from the defence and prosecution were at one that the offence with which the accused persons are facing is bailable and that the High Court has powers to entertain the application and grant them bail.

It was stated in the joint affidavit by the two accused persons that they were denied bail application before the committal court as the value of the minerals subject of their charge exceed 10m/-.

When determining the application, the judge considered the fact that the application was not objected by the prosecution and the fact that they have reliable sureties ready to guarantee their presence in court when required, as well as their promise to abide by the court's condition should bail be granted.

In fixing bail conditions, the prosecution had advised the court to be guided by the provisions of section 148(5) (e) and (6) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).

With all due respect to the State Attorney, however, the judge could not purchase the advice in question. He pointed out that the cited provisions under the CPA do not apply to cases preferred under the Economic and Organized Crime Control Act (EOCCA).

The judge said that the applicable section for fixing bail conditions in the matter in his opinion was section 36(5) and (6) of the EOCCA.

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