On May 28, 2024, the owner of an illegal factory that made counterfeit alcoholic drinks, Frank Donatus Mrema, and his two employees were sentenced to life in prison. After being found guilty, one of the convicted men thanked the court and God for the conviction.

Frank Mrema, also known as Alaji, along with his employees Faham Salim Ngoda and Issa Juma Hassan, were producing fake alcoholic beverages, including K-Vant, Double Kick, and Smart Gin, using the hazardous chemical ethanol illegally. They also used fake tax stickers and logos of legitimate companies.

The judgment was delivered by Magistrate Veneranda Kaseko at the Kivukoni Resident Magistrate’s Court in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam. The court found them guilty of economic sabotage for possessing and using hazardous chemicals without authorization.

After the verdict, Issa Juma Hassan expressed gratitude to God for making it through the trial and thanked the court for what he called a “correct decision.” Despite his gratitude, he asked the court for a reduced sentence, claiming he was not the main perpetrator.

Frank Mrema, the main defendant, also requested a sentence in accordance with the law, insisting that the evidence presented in court did not match what was found at the crime scene. He also asked the court to consider the time they had already spent in custody.

Faham Salim Ngoda, instead of asking for a reduced sentence, started to deny the charges again, but the judge reminded him that the time for defense had passed.

Prosecutor Deborah Mushi informed the court that the prosecution had no prior criminal records for the defendants but urged for a severe punishment due to the harmful effects of the chemicals used in their products. She highlighted the health risks, including damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart, and the financial burden on the government to treat affected individuals.

In delivering the sentence, Magistrate Kaseko stated that the court considered the harmful impact of the defendants’ actions on public health and the economy. According to the law, the only punishment for their crime was life imprisonment. She sentenced each defendant to life in prison for the first charge, a fine of 5 million shillings for the second charge, and one year in prison for the third charge. All sentences will run concurrently.

The court also ordered the destruction of all confiscated items, including the hazardous chemicals, bottles, tax stickers, and counterfeit logos.

The trio was arrested on September 17, 2022, in Tegeta, Kinondoni District, after police officers from the Kawe Police Station found 531.2 liters of ethanol in their illegal factory. They were charged with economic sabotage, case number 10 of 2022, and pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution called 12 witnesses and presented 25 pieces of evidence, including documents and the counterfeit products. Despite the defendants’ denial and claim of not knowing each other, the court found them guilty based on the evidence and testimonies from various witnesses, including police officers, a government chemist, and representatives from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

The evidence showed that the defendants used fake TRA stickers and logos of registered liquor companies to produce and sell their counterfeit products. The court was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendants’ guilt in all three charges.

Magistrate Kaseko concluded that the court had no doubt about the guilt of the defendants and sentenced them accordingly.