Dar es Salaam. Six people, including businessman Yusuf Ali Yusuf alias Mpemba, who at one time President John Magufuli alleged he was an ivory smuggling kingpin, were yesterday charged at Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court.
Charged along Mr Yusuf are businessmen Charles Mrutu, Benedict Kungwa, Jumanne Chima, Pius Kulangwa and a driver, Mr Ahmed Nyagongo. The accused were arraigned before Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba facing four counts of attempting to smuggle ivory worth over Sh785 million.
They were not allowed to enter any plea because the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case which was filed under the Economic and Organised Crimes Control Act. They will remain remanded until December 1 awaiting another court appearance.
According to the prosecution led by State Attorney Paul Kadushi, investigations are completed and his team is preparing facts of the case so as to transfer it to the Corruption and Economic Crimes Court (Anti-Corruption Court) for full hearing.
Mr Kadushi alleged that the accused on diverse dates between January, 2014 and October 2016 at different places within Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Tanga and Mtwara regions together with other persons who are yet to be arrested, ilegally acquired, possessed and sold 50 pieces of elephant tusks worth $180,000 equivalent to Sh392,817,600.
The prosecution alleged further that on October 26 at Mbagala Zakhem, Temeke District, the accused were found in illegal possession of 10 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 13.85kg worth $30,000 (equivalent to Sh65,469,600).
The prosecution further alleged that, on October 27 at Tabata Kisukulu in Ilala District, Dar es Salaam, the accused were found in possession of four pieces of elephant tusks valued $15,000 (equivalent to Sh32,734,800).
It is also alleged on October 29 at Tabata Kisukuru, the accused were found in possession of 36 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 58.55kg valued at $135,000 (Sh294,613,200).
According to the prosecution, the accused engaged in government trophies business without a permit from the Director of Wildlife contrary to Section 57(1) and 60(2) of Economic and Organised Crime Control Act Cap 200 as amended and that of Wildlife Conservation Act no 5 of 2009.