State Prosecutors in the case involving eight Tanzanian Nationals in police custody over illegal entry into Kayerekera Uranium Mine in Karonga, say are unmoved by the claim raised in defence of the accused that the state is dragging the latter to court on misplaced charges.
In cross-examining one of the state witnesses before Northern Region Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Mzuzu Wednesday, defense lawyer Nicely Msowoya of N and C Msowoya and Associates said the state misplaced the charge of the accused, particularly the second count of carrying out a reconnaissance operation without license.
He argued that the accused were arrested before carrying out the operation.
However, speaking to Malawi News Agency, State Prosecutor Harry Mkandawire said the state still stands on the grounds that the charges inflicted on the suspects were right, therefore, did not see any need for panic.
“We are sure that all the defense was trying to do was to distract our witness from stating his facts that is why he came up with those suggestions.
“Otherwise as a state, we stand by our grounds that both charges that the accused are being charged with, are in accordance with what is stipulated in the Penal Code and Mines and Minerals Act,” he said confidently.
Earlier in court, one of the state witnesses, Atileni Wona who is Acting Director of Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, told the court by virtue of their (the accused) presence in the jurisdiction of Paladin Malawi without official permission and being in possession of materials for potential mineral excavation, the accused persons had already acted against the law.
The eight were arrested on December 20, 2016 on their way to Kayerekera Uranium Mine and are answering two charges of criminal trespassing and carrying out a reconnaissance operation without license.
The offences are contrary to Section 314 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 2(4) of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Concluding the case, the state paraded three witnesses and presented to court some of the possessions confiscated from the accused on the day of arrest as part of evidence.
The possessions included a draft-map of Kayerekera Mine with detailed information showing the position of security cameras and different processing machines; a note pad with handwritten information about the mine such as when it opened; number of staff and their payments, the company’s relationship with the community and government as well as their tax payment methods.
Also tendered as evidence in court were two empty flasks, a camera and a measuring tape which the accused had confessed was to be used to taste water from the mine.
Also speaking to MANA after the court proceedings, the defense lawyer Nicely Msowoya said he was optimistic about the case but could not say more until a judgment was made on the case.
“I do not want to pre-empt the case so I would rather remain silent on the case until a decision is made on it,” said Msowoya.
Chief Resident Magistrate Masoamphambe adjourned the court to Thursday, the 9th March, 2017. (
By Rose Mahorya, Mana)