FORMER Tanzania Mining Commission Laboratory Manager Donald Njonjo and two others were arraigned before a Dar es Salaam court yesterday, charged with money laundering and theft of 6.244 kilogrammes of gold.
Njonjo, a resident of Kigamboni area was charged alongside Gamba Muyemba, a Tandika resident and Kashif Mohamed, an Upanga resident.
Before Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court Senior Resident Magistrate Kelvin Mhina the accused were not allowed to enter any plea to the charges, which fall under the Economic and Organised Crime Act.
The magistrate adjourned the case to July 29, 2019 for another mention, with the prosecution, led by State Attorney Jacqueline Nyantori claiming that investigations into the matter have not been completed.
Prosecuting, the trial attorney alleged that between November 30, 2017 and June 29, 2019 at the Offices of Minerals Commission, Masaki Area within Dar es Salaam region’s Kinondoni District, the trio stole gold valued at 507,347,000/-, the property of United Republic of Tanzania.
Mohamed was charged with an alternative count of being found in possession of goods suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully acquired, an offence which is alleged to have been committed on July 8, 2019 along Indira Ghandi Street in Ilala District.
The court heard that Mohamed was found in possession of different gold bars, weighing 1,628, 401.20, 354, 211.30, 161.9 and 28.40 grammes, all totaling 2,794.5 grammes.
The prosecution alleged that the gold bars were valued at 121,155.45 US dollars (over 278m/-), which were stolen from the Commission for Minerals. All accused were also charged with unauthorised disposition of minerals.
The prosecution told the court that between July 1 and November 3, 2018 at various places in the city, the accused disposed the 6.244 kilogrammes of minerals without the mineral rights.
The trio was also jointly accused of money laundering. Within the same period and places within Ilala District, the accused were engaged directly in a transaction involving the gold, knowing that the minerals were proceeds of a predicate offence of stealing.
The arraignment of the accused comes few days after the Dar es Salam Special Police Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa announced the arrest of Njonjo in connection with the theft of gold, which was allegedly stored at the offices of the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA).
Briefing the media on June 29, 2019, Commander Mambosasa said Dar es Salaam Regional Minerals Officer at TMAA Ally Sadick reported to the central police station having discovered that some of the gold they had confiscated was missing from their offices.
According to the RPC, after the tip, the police launched quick intensive investigations at the office where preliminary investigations discovered that Njonjo was responsible because he had been allegedly stealing since December 2018.
During the interrogation, he alleged, the accused confessed to have been stealing the minerals and selling them to some jewelers in the city and filing back the empty shelves with fake gold of 6.001kilogrammes to hoodwink the officers manning the store.
Commander Mambosasa also disclosed that the minerals were seized in 2017 at the Zanzibar Post where they were illegally smuggled in before the government ordered that they be kept at the offices.