Three Chinese nationals, Xiao Shaodan (30), Chen Jianlin (35) and Liang Hu (31), appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday charged with leading organised crime relating to several pieces of elephant tusks valued at over 7bn/-.
They were not allowed to enter plea to the charges when they were brought before Principal Resident Magistrate Respicious Mwijage because their case will be tried by the High Court.
The magistrate ordered them to go to remand until January 31 when the case will be mentioned.
According to the prosecution, investigations into the matter have not been completed. But before adjournment of the case, the accused persons complained that the case has been framed against them having being acquittedof a similar case that was pending before the High Court, Mbeya Registry.
According to the accused persons, after being acquitted of the offence last year, they were rearrested and taken to a police station where they were allegedly tortured.
They claimed to have remained in remand for about 70 days before their second arraignment.
Reacting to the complaint of the accused persons, the magistrate directed the prosecution to observe justice and treat them fairly, as looking at the charge sheet it appeared that the offence was committed a long time ago.
He wondered why such arraignment was so delayed. State Attorney Elizabeth Mkude, for the prosecution, who was assisted by a legal officer from the Natural Resources Division, Mr Samson Saye, told the court that the accused persons committed the offence on diverse dates between January and November 2013 in Dar es Salaam.
It is alleged that jointly and together, the accused persons and others not in court intentionally organised and furthered the objective of a criminal racket by acquiring, possessing and transporting 1,023 pieces of elephant tusks from Tanzania Mainland to Zanzibar.