A magistrate court in the northern city of Mzuzu has convicted eight Tanzanian national in the infamous Kayelekera uranium mine spies case who were facing criminal trespassing charges.
Eight Tanzanians were arrested in December for allegedly going to Kayelekera Uranium mine without government consent.
They were charged with criminal trespassing charge and other related charges.
Chief resident Magistrate for the north, Texious Masoamphambe said by entering the premises of Kayelekera without the knowledge of the uranium miners, Paladin, the Tanzanians committed an offence of criminal trespassing and carrying out a reconnaissance operation without permit or license which against Section 314 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 2 of Mines and Minerals Act.
Two pleaded guilty while six Tanzanians vehemently denied all charges saying they went there as a study tour with the help of Malawians.
Bob Mtekama, a senior police investigator submitted to the court that the police were tipped that the Tanzanians wanted to visit Kayelekera and the police set up a make shift road block to arrest them.
“They were found with a computer, a camera, map of the mine and other gadgets,” he said.
He said the suspects had no permit from the state for them to visit the closed uranium mine which he said raised suspicion.
The state suspected the suspects were on a spying mission to find out whether the government was producing nuclear which it would use to attack Tanzania should a war break following their disagreements over ownership of Lake Malawi.
But the Tanzanians claimed they were civil society organisation members.
Magistrate Masoamphambe said in his determination: “No matter the arguments presented before me by the accused persons and their attorney, it is my considered view that the offences were to be committed by the exhibits they were found in possession of.
“I therefore convict them accordingly.”
Masoaphambe said he will pass his sentence on April 12.
Defence lawyer Nicely Msowoya and State prosecutor Happy Mkandawire are expected to make their sentencing submission on Thursday April 6, 2017.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :