By Rosina John
Dar es Salaam — The long awaited Economic, Corruption and Organised Crime Court sat for the first time on Thursday in Dar es Salaam to hear a bail application.
The bail application was lodged at the court by three people who were arrested and charged in October, 2016 at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court with several counts including that of storing bags of monofilament nets worth over Sh15 billion.
The accused in the economic sabotage case are a Chinese woman Fu Chang Feng, an Indian national Ally Raza and a Tanzanian citizen Jeremiah Kerenge.
The initial bail application lodged by the accused at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court was denied due to lack of jurisdiction of that court to hear the case.
Judge Rehema Kiwanga Mkuye of the anti-corruption court yesterday heard the application and set November 14 this year as the date of the ruling.
The Principal State Attorney Timon Vitalis objected to the application om Thursday saying the application was supposed to be filed at the High Court main Registry but not at the anti-corruption division.
However, replying on the argument, advocate representing the accused Mr Roman Lamwai said that according to the interpretation of the Economic Crime Act and the amount of money in the charge sheet the anti-corruption court was appropriate.
In the main case which is before Senior Resident Magistrate Godfrey Mwambapa of the Kisutu Court, the two accused Ms Feng and Mr Kerenge, are alleged to have imported into Tanzania from Shanghai China, a container containing 499 bags of monofilament nets worth Sh7,485,000,000. The two were found in possession of the items on October 4, 2016 at Kurasini Shimo la Udongo area within Temeke District.
According to the Prosecution the nets were prohibited for import and use in Tanzania.
Prosecution further alleged that all the three accused, on October 5 this year at Ilala’s Mafuriko Street, were found storing 325 bags containing 187 pieces of the monofilament worth Sh15,193,750,000.
On the same day and place, the three accused were also alleged to have been found in illegal possession and storage of 50 bags containing 200 pieces of fishing gillnets whose net size was less than 3 inches and which were valued at Sh300,000,000.
The accused are alleged to have committed the offense contrary to section 146(a) (1) of the Customs Management and Tariff Act Cap 403, Revised Edition 2002 and section 57(1) and 60(2) of the Economic and Organized Crime Act, Cap 200 Revised Edition 2002.
This is the first activity of the anti-corruption since it was created in July this year following the decision by President John Magufuli to assent the bill passed by the Parliament to establish the special court.