Dar es Salaam. Drama ensued at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday after the police rearrested and charged afresh the director of Uda Rapid Transit (Udart), Robert Kisena and his wife Florencia Mashauri Membe, moments after the same court discharged them of fraud and money laundering charges.
Three other people who faced the charges – Kulwa Kisena, Charles Newe and a Chinese, Cheni Shi – were also acquitted but rearrested after staying behind bars for three months.
Resident magistrate-in-charge Thomas Simba dropped the charges against them yesterday after state lawyer Gloria Mwenda informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) no longer had intention to continue with the proceedings.
However, their joy of freedom was shortlived after security officers surrounded and arrested them as they prepared to leave court premises. They were charged before senior resident magistrate Augustine Rwizile.
Mr Kisena and the co-defendants stood trial for fraud, money laundering, organized crime and causing over Sh2.41 billion loss to the government during the implementation of the rapid bus transit---Udart project.
Before the rearrest, state lawyer Glory Mwenda informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) no longer has the intention to continue with the proceedings against the accused.
Section 91 (1) of the CPA empowers the DPP to drop charges against any accused person at any stage the before judgment is pronounced. The discharge does not operate as a bar to any subsequent proceedings against the accused on account of the same facts.
Resident magistrate-in-charge Thomas Simba accepted the information and declared that charges against the accused had been dropped.
A month ago, the prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) arrested Ms Membe and charged her with seven counts including that of theft and money laundering.
She is the managing director of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited.
PCCB prosecutors alleged that between January 2015 and December 2017, Ms Mashauri and other accused constructed a fuel station at Jangwani Rapid Bus Yard without approval from the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (Ewura).
They also faced charges of conducting fuel business in unauthorized premises. She is accused of stealing fuel valued at Sh1.2 billion from Udart.
According to the prosecution, the accused also acquired Sh1.2 billion while knowing the money was the proceeds of theft.