Dar es Salaam. The first hearing of the economic sabotage case involving Mr Silvanus Matembo and other two will start tomorrow at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam.
Other accused persons include Tanzanian Philemon Manase and a Chinese national, Ms Yang Feng, popularly known as “Ivory Queen”.
In front of the Principal Resident Magistrate, Mr Huruma Shaidi, the public prosecutor, Ms Elizabeth Mkunde alleged that all three persons are accused of engaging in illegal ivory trade valued at Sh13 billion.
“This case came for hearing, but a team of lawyers representing the prosecution side were absent,” Ms Mkunde said. The prosecutor added: “All the accused are present, but the lawyers representing the prosecution side are at the referral court for another case, so we request for another hearing date,” she said.
Defendants lawyers include Mr Nehemiah Nkoko, Mr Hassan Kihangio, Mr Alex Mgongolwa and Mr Jamuhuri Johnson.
Earlier, Mr Nkoko alleged that the prosecution side should have informed the court over their absence.
“Your honour magistrate, this case has taken so long, we believe the office of director of public prosecution has a lot of lawyers of whom would have been assigned to attend the court proceedings, instead of adjourning again,” said the lawyer. The accused China national asked the magistrate to direct lawyers representing the prosecution side to bring in witnesses in order to fast-track the case.