Dar es Salaam. Two people, including a customs officer of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Mr Joachim Nicolaus were yesterday charged at Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court with smuggling ivory worth over Sh4.2 billion.
Mr Nocolaus, alias Kennedy Kimaro, a resident of Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam, is charged along with Arusha-based businessman Mr Kassim Hassan Said with two counts of leading organized crime and unlawful dealing in trophies.
They were arraigned before Resident Magistrate Emilius Mchauru where they were not allowed to enter any plea because the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case which falls under the Economic and Organized Crime Control Act. The case is normally heard by the High Court.
The prosecution led by State Attorney Elia Athanas assisted by Mr Salim Msemo, alleged that the accused committed the offences on diverse dates between March 2013 and August 2015 in Dar es Salaam,
According to the prosecution, the accused and other persons who have yet to be arrested, intentionally organized and furthered the objectives of a criminal racket by acquiring, possessing and exporting from Tanzania to Hong Kong-China and Thailand 3500 kilogrammes of elephant tusks worth US$1,925,000, equivalent to Sh4,202,275,000.
The prosecution alleged that, the accused transported the elephant tusks, the property of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, without a permit from the director of Wildlife.
In respect of the count of dealing in trophies, the prosecution alleged that, the accused and other persons who are yet to be arrested, exported from Tanzania to Hong Kong and Thailand, government trophies (elephant tusks) without a trophy dealers license or a cites permit.
After reading the charges, the prosecution informed the court that investigations of the case were still going on.
They asked the court to set a date for another mention. Magistrate Mchauru agreed with the request and set October 10 as the date for another mention.
Magistrate Mchauru ordered the accused to stay in remand prison because the lower court has no jurisdiction to entertain bail application for the case.