The President of Tanzania Boxing Federation, Alhaj Shaban Mintanga, yesterday appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate`s Court charged with conspiracy and trafficking of narcotic drugs worth 120m/-.
Police had to disperse Mintanga`s relatives who flocked the courtroom, sobbing and shouting shortly before the session started.
As the accused was being led into the courtroom, which was fully packed, a young man, believed to be Mintanga’s relative, could not help seeing the accused standing in the dock.
He started crying and shouting “Baba! Baba!“ meaning “Father! Father!“ making other people in the courtroom weep also.
The young man was later taken out of the courtroom so as to allow the session to commence.
When the session started, Prosecutor Charles Kenyella alleged the accused, together with others not in court on June 3 this year, at unknown place, conspired to traffic narcotic drugs weighing 4.8kg from Tanzania to Mauritius.
It was also assumed that on June 10, this year the accused did traffic the said drugs to Mauritius.
The accused denied the charge but the prosecution opposed the granting of bail, saying investigations were still going on.
Mintanga`s defence lawyer, Jerome Msemwa, asked the court to grant bail to his client because he was a famous Dar es Salaam-based president of the Boxing Federation and could therefore not escape.
He added that his client had reliable sureties and would always be present when required.
Msemwa said the law presumed every person was innocent until proved otherwise by a competent court of law, adding that on that assumption, the law required that he be granted bail as it was his constitutional right.
He also asked the court to look into circumstances surrounding the case, because his client had never been to Mauritius where the other culprits were arrested.
Msemwa also told the court that the other defendants who were being tried in Mauritius were arrested while already in a city in Mauritius and not on arrival at the airport, so it was likely that they got the drugs while in that country.
He asked the court to take into consideration the said circumstances because according to law, a person could not be charged in another country when the offence had been committed in another state.
The case was then adjourned to July 16 this year when the court would give its ruling on whether to grant bail to the accused or not.
Two Tanzanian boxers William Michael Onesmo and Emilian Patrick and a coach Nassoro Michael, were arrested on May 28 this year in Mauritius allegedly for possessing illicit drugs.
The boxers and their coach had gone to Mauritius to participate in the African Nations Boxing Competition.
- SOURCE: Guardian