Tanzanian denies trafficking cocaine

A TANZANIAN who is in court for allegedly trafficking in 24.1 kilogrammes of cocaine which was later said to have be stolen by court officials has denied trafficking the drugs.

Opening his defence before chief resident magistrate Kenneth Mulife yesterday, Shaibu Likuta said he was a mere bus conductor who was instructed by his boss in Tanzania to deliver luggage for customers en-route to Zimbabwe.

Likuta, a bus conductor at Fulcon Bus Services, is jointly charged with Sydney Mwansa, a manager at Taqua Bus Services offices in Lusaka, and taxi driver Teddy Matanda.

The trio is alleged to have trafficked in 24.1 kilogrammes of cocaine which has gone missing whilst in the custody of the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court as exhibits and court officials are appearing in court for trafficking the same.

Likuta testified that he would not have known what was contained in the parcel he was instructed to specifically deliver to Mwansa who is now his co-accused.

“I was informed by my boss in Dar-es-Saalam a day before I left for Zambia that I was to carry four boxes to be delivered to Mwansa which contained spare parts of motor vehicle and luggage for others which were all sealed,” he said.

Likuta said he was shocked when he was arrested at the Chirundu border on the Zimbabwean side in connection with trafficking such a huge quantity of cocaine because he has never heard of such amounts being trafficked on a bus in the entire 42 years he has lived on earth.

He recounted that on February 18 last year around 18:00 hours Tanzanian time, he went to their office in Dar-es-Saalam to prepare for a trip to Zimbabwe via Zambia which was coming the following day.

Likuta told the court that his boss Ibrahim Saidi gave him all the luggage that was coming to Zambia and Zimbabwe which were separately packed according to the country where they were destined for.

He claimed that Saidi gave him instructions of where he was supposed to take the luggage and who was supposed to collect them.

Likuta explained that four boxes came from Taqua Bus Services office in Tanzania after they asked Fulcon to help deliver the luggage to Mwansa who was the manager in Zambia.

He said the four boxes were cleared at Nakonde border and were handed to him to deliver to Zambia.

Likuta said the bus started off for Zambia and along the way, he contacted Mwansa to inform him that he had parcels for him on the bus but the latter asked what kind of parcel it was to which he said were spare parts for a vehicle.

He said Mwansa gave him a number for a taxi driver he was to contact when he arrived at Intercity Bus Terminus in Lusaka.

Likuta said he phoned the taxi driver when he reached Intercity and he collected the four boxes.

He said he then proceeded to Zimbabwe where he received a call from Zambia questioning him about the parcel which he left and was subsequently arrested and jointly charged with Mwansa and Matanda for drug trafficking.

Mwansa was further charged with being found in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

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