Prosecution forced to close evidence in EPA case

The Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam on Friday forced the prosecution to close its evidence in the case involving two brothers, Johnson Lukaza and Mwesiga Lukaza charged with conspiracy and theft of 6.3bn/- from the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account.

Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court

A panel comprising Senior Resident Magistrates Gabriel Mirumbe, Edson Mkasimongwa and Pamela Mazengo reached the decision after rejecting a request by the prosecution to grant further adjournment of the trial for lack of witnesses.

State Attorney Shadrack Kimaro, for the prosecution, had requested the magistrates to give him at least a week to bring witnesses, but defence counsel Alex Mgongolwa vehemently opposed the application.

Advocate Mgongolwa reminded the panel that it had previously acted upon on the prosecution’s similar request and the prosecution was given last adjournment after it had failed to bring the witnesses.

The advocate submitted that the court should stick to its previous order and not depart from the ruling unless good reasons were to be provided to do so. He said no cogent and compelling reasons advanced by the prosecution to warrant further adjournment of the case.

In their short ruling, the magistrates said, “we agreed with the defence. It is true that the court had ever given the prosecution last adjournment after it had failed to call witnesses. It is some months now have passed since the last prosecution witness gave his testimony.”

Following the decision in question, the magistrate said they would deliver their ruling on whether the two accused persons have a case to answer or not on July 11, this year.

So far the prosecution has called seven witnesses. In the trial, Johnson Lukaza and his brother Mwesiga Lukaza are alleged that on diverse dates between December 2003 and December 2005, conspired to steal from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).

They are suspected that on November 2, 2005, with intent to defraud, they forged a deed of assignment dated November 2, 2005 between Kernel Ltd of Tanzania and Marubeni Corporation of Japan purporting to show that Kernel had been assigned a debt of 6,300,402,224/64/- by Marubeni.

It is further alleged that on 11 November, 2005 the accused uttered the said forged document to BoT. It is also alleged that on 7 December, 2005 in Dar es Salaam city the accused stole the said amount from BoT. On the last count it is alleged that on the same date and place the accused obtained credit by false pretence.

By SWAUM MUSTAPHER, Tanzania Daily News

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