The case of eight Tanzanian trespassers took yet another twist on Wednesday when two of the eight accused persons pleaded guilty to the charges.
Last month all of the eight suspects denied both charges of criminal trespassing and carrying out a reconnaissance activity at the Kayerekera Uranium Mine in Karonga.
This came to light when Chief Resident Magistrate (CRM) for the Northern Region Texious Masoamphambe finished hearing of the case during which the state paraded the last three witnesses out of the seven to prove its case.
Among the witnesses who testified on the day were Acting Director of Mines Atilenie Wona, Bob Mtekama Deputy Director in Criminal Investigations and Sargent Detective Chaima.
Taking his turn Chaima read out caution statements from all the eight accused persons out of whom only two pleaded guilty to the charges.
The statements were tendered to the court as evidence.
In his testimony Mtekama told the court that around December 16 2016, his office got information that some Tanzanians were in the country on a tour to Kayerekera Uranium Mine but did follow necessary procedures.
“As a detective I did not take the information lightly but, rather, instituted an undercover operation which led to the arrest of the eight suspects on December 20 2016,” Mtekama said.
The court is set to deliver its ruling on the case on March 9 2017.
The court has since ordered the defence to file all written submissions to the court by February 27, while the state has been given up to March 3 to respond.
Lead prosecutor Happy Mkandawire said in a post-hearing interview that the state is satisfied with the evidence presented to the court for fair judgement.
“We have stated our case in the manner which we had planned to enable the court reach at a fair and just decision,” Mkandawire said.
When approached for an interview, defence attorney Nicely Msowoya declined to comment.
During proceedings however, the court expressed displeasure with how the defence cross-examined some of the witnesses.
“Be fair to the witnesses, do not twist the same questions for the sake of it, because you are not getting the responses you are looking for,” Masoamphambe censured Msowoya.
The eight, who are on remand at the Mzuzu Prison, are answering charges of criminal trespassing and carrying out a reconnaissance operation without permit or license which contravene Section 314 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 2 of the Mines and Minerals Act, respectively.