By Mary Taruvinga
A HARARE businessman, Tafungiswa Kennedy Jasi, 52, has been arrested and taken to court after he was found in possession of cocaine worth US$18 000 stashed in his Borrowdale home.
Police also recovered a drug processing and packaging equipment during the raid.
Jasi, who owns Pringle Technical Engineering and Pringle Haulage Company, was hauled before Harare provincial magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guuriro charged with unlawful dealing in dangerous drugs.
He was remanded in custody to May 19 after prosecutor George Manokore argued against Jasi being granted bail as he was a flight risk.
“The accused person is not a suitable candidate for bail, the cocaine and equipment suspected to be used in the production of the dangerous substance were recovered from his car and home which takes away the presumption of innocence,” submitted Manokore.
“The State has overwhelming evidence against this accused person and investigations are still underway such that releasing him would jeopardise the interests of justice,” he further argued.
Manokore also said more people were likely to be arrested in connection with the case and if Jasi was released, he was likely to protect them.
Guriro upheld the State’s arguments saying it was not in the interest of justice to release the suspect on bail.
“It would not be in the public interest to release the accused person on bail considering the volumes that were recovered. Arguments on the issue of possession are issues that the accused person can exhaust when the matter goes to trial,” Muchuchuti ruled.
Jasi had argued that he had no reason to flee because he was a businessman and family man of fixed abode.
According to the State, on April 30, detectives received information to the effect that Jasi was dealing in cocaine and acting on the information, they made surveillance in Borrowdale where the suspect was spotted driving a Ford Ranger towards his house.
The detectives intercepted him and he entered his residence and requested to search his car before recovering sachets of cocaine hidden under the steering wheel.
Further searches at the residence were conducted and more cocaine, cutting utensils, cutting agent, and a scale allegedly used in the manufacture and packaging of the dangerous drug were recovered.
He was arrested and taken to CID Drugs and Narcotics where a field test was conducted in his presence and tested positive for cocaine. The drugs weighed 221 grammes while the cutting agent was 3,5 kg.
The seized cocaine has been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for further examination.