Witness ‘stunned’ to hear about Mbowe’s charges

Tuesday September 21 2021
Mbowe pic

Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe (left) and his co-accused arrive at the High Court (Corruption and Economic Crimes Division) in Dar es Salaam yesterday. PHOTO | LOVENESS BERNARD

By Hadija Jumanne
By James Magai

Dar es Salaam. A police constable who attended to the leader of the main opposition Freeman Mbowe and three other men at the Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam yesterday told a court in the city that he was shocked to hear the four men were accused of terrorism-related offences.  
Detective Constable Ricardo Msemwa was giving evidence in a case-within-a case that arose after defence lawyers objected to admission of a statement in which the second accused, Adam Kusekwa, is said to have confessed to the accusations.
Legal arguments emerged last week after a prosecution witness who recorded the statement of the accused, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ramadhani Kingai, asked the High Court (Corruption and Economic Crimes Division) to admit the statement as evidence.
Defence lawyers strongly objected to admission of the statement, claiming that the accused was tortured before taking his statement and that the statement was taken beyond time prescribed by the law.
Apart from Mbowe and Kasekwa, other accused persons are Halfan Bwire and Mohamed Ling’wenya.
They face six counts, including conspiring to blow up fuel stations, endanger national security and cause alarm.
The Prosecution has alleged that, between May 1 and August 1, 2020 at the Aishi Hotel in Moshi Municipality, Kilimanajaro Region, and also at different places in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Arusha regions, the accused persons conspired to blow up fuel stations.
According to the charge sheet, apart from blowing up fuel stations, the accused also planned to blow up public gatherings and disrupt political stability, constitutional order, the country’s economy - and put the good name of the United Republic of Tanzania into disrepute.
Led by Senior State Attorney Nassoro Katuga, Constable Ricardo alleged that, on August 7, 2020 while on duty at the Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam in Prosecutions Room, he was the one tasked with attending to the accused.
He alleged that, after the accused were handed over to him - having been brought from Moshi in Kilimanjaro  where they had been arrested over alleged plan to harm the-then Hai District Commissioner, Lengai Ole Sabaya, he was informed that the four men were accused of planning terrorism acts.
The case, which is being presided by Judge Mustapha Siyani, was adjourned to Friday when the fourth prosecution witness will give evidence.