Justice for Billionaire Msuya’s Sister: Why Antudia Msuya’s Distress Over Acquittal of Suspects

Antudia Msuya

Image: Mwananchi Communications

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Antudia Msuya was captured gesticulating and remonstrating against the decision of the High Court that freed her sister two murder suspects for what the court ruled as lack of evidence to nail the duo. Antuda’s main complaint was that there was sufficient evidence to convict the suspects, and she went on to say justice was denied to the victims. This article attempts to assess the evidence that was canvassed, considered and decided in a court of law to determine whether the misgivings of Antuda Msuya carries any water.

It all started in August, 2013, with the assassination of a billionaire business tycoon, Erasto Msuya,who was hit by more than twenty bullets from a machine gun, and conspiracy theorists had a fertile imagination to exercise their mental prowess of sowing seeds of what really happened. Some of the conspiracies claimed this was a crime of passion. The narrative proceeded unabashedly to claim a jealous husband has hired hitmen that finished off a rival after numerous warnings went unheeded. Todate we have nothing to support those salacious claims of infidelity gone berserk.

The billionaire was lured to his death by two young hustlers who had enticed him with gemstones for cheap sale. The billionaire eager to close the deal before rivals had outsmarted him rushed to a secluded place where the unruly youth rained him with bullets in cold blood leaving his driver to alert the police of the execution. The killers vanished in a bodaboda but were later arraigned in a court, and five were sentenced to death, and one of them was set free.

In a court drama, one of the witnesses confessed to taking part in his murder but later the evidence was quashed due to a procedural error as the confession was recorded outside the four-hour limit post-arrest, as prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Act. The judge concurred with the defense’s argument, effectively ruling out the confession as valid evidence. There was a case in the USA, where Justice Clarence Thomas decried technicalities to defeat substantial justice.

In that case, the murderer’s DNA was found in the murdered woman’s body but was released because of the way the evidence was collected. Justice Thomas cryptically quizzed what have those anomalies to do with the conviction of a murderer?

Read related: Yes, The DPP Strikes Again! Unanswered Questions in a High-Profile Tanzanian Prosecutorial Powers Case.

In May 2016, the sister of the billionaire Msuya, Aneth Msuya, was slaughtered in her bedroom during the night with her own child being the only witness. For reasons which were not clear the toddler was spared the wrath of the murderers feeding the grapevine the scrumptious fodder that whoever masterminded her murder took mercy for the toddler because they were blood related. The rumour mongers also alluded that whoever was behind her murder was motivated by terminating a rival in heirloom disputes of her brother’s wealth.

The deceased woman and the accused of her murder were related by marriage: they were inlaws. The killers were accused to have stolen a TV only raising serious doubts whether stealing it had justified her murder. Some argued that maybe she had resisted the theft, and was slaughtered but others questioned why on that fateful day her helpers were conspicuously absent in her home as if they knew the attack would happen. Some were unconvinced and cited that there could be reasons why the maids were not in the house on the day their boss was murdered. Others dismissed the matter as an unexplainable coincidence.

But majority believed that it was an inside job to eliminate a serious threat to the bequest of the billionaire Msuya wealths, and the stolen TV was a mere distraction to distance the suspects from the homicide. After lengthy investigations, the accused were indicted, arraigned in a court of law, and eight years later the High Court in Dar-es-Salaam set them free.

At outset, it may look something was fishy but a careful analysis of the evidence it is almost impossible to see how the court could have reached a different verdict save for the departure from the DNA. The whole case there were no eyewitnesses save for a toddler who had nothing useful to contribute. The only collaborating evidence is the DNA that can place the accused in a crime scene. The wife of deceased did not have her DNA found in a crime scene.

So, she was out of the net. She never visited the crime scene on that fateful day. But her alleged collaborator’s DNA was found on the knife suspected to be a murder weapon. How the High Court dismissed this evidence is a matter of conjecture but could weaponize the office of the DPP to lodge an appeal before the appeals court.

The only crime, if any was by association, and the DNA was needed to put one of the alleged accomplices in the crime scene that the court could presumably conclude that hit was ordered by the deceased wife. In order to get there the DPP needed the accomplices to implicate the deceased wife once their DNA was placed in a crime scene, and they held no watertight alibi.

In such cases, experience in the Western world where criminal law is well advanced is of assistance here, the DPP can give some sort of plea bargain that guarantees the hired hands to give evidence that will nail the mastermind. We have plea bargaining laws, but for reasons which were not clear, the DPP did not take that route despite the DNA evidence being conclusive or to give him the benefit of the doubt; the idea did not cross his mind.

Also, read The Acquittal of Convicted Former Arusha City Director & Two Others Puts the DPP Under Spotlight.

What Did the High Court Say About the DNA Evidence Collected in the Crime Scene?

This criminal case boils down to the DNA that was found at the crime scene and whether that was pertinent in establishing who murdered Aneth Msuya. The second accused, Revocatus Muyella, had acquiesced his DNA to be collected, and the results were handed over at the High Court. However, somewhere else in his deposition, he denied having his saliva collected for analysis!

The court ruled that the DNA collected at the crime scene was not of the accused Revocatus Muyella, therefore, there was no way the sampled DNA could place him in a crime scene. This meant her killers were still out there, and the homicide was still a cold case waiting to be resolved someday.

Why Were Those Who Cried Justice Not Served Moved by What?

Antudia Msuya claimed the evidence was clear, but the court did not do them justice. She went further, saying the relatives of the accused had repainted her home, indicating they knew the verdict even before it was announced in a court of law. For sure, that is not the evidence but the relatives were mere speculators but painting of a home cannot be adduced as evidence of wrongdoing.

The evidence if any ought to be collated from the DNA results or any other collaborated evidence that is in the recorded proceedings or if new evidence has cropped up demanding some sort of review in the same court before the same judge which is not alleged by her.

The events behind the murder of Aneth Msuya may be tied to the murder of her brother, and treating them separately may have made the arraignment of their killers challenging to achieve. Again, this is also a speculative hunch or a humane intuition, qualifying for nothing. DNA should not be viewed in isolation; it is high time DNA mapping is done to trace potential relatives of her killers.

In the case of the Moscow murders in Idaho, USA, it was DNA mapping that accomplished an arrest of a suspect who is now facing quadruple murder criminal proceedings.

Paradoxically, there are similarities between the two cases. In the Moscow, Idaho quadruple murders, it was the knife sheath that the murder suspect, Bryan Christopher Kohberger, left behind the DNA that was used to arrest the suspect, and according to the evidence adduced in the Dar-es-Salaam High court, the 25th witness, Dr. Fidelis Segumba put the second suspect at the crime scene. The DNA from the saliva collected from the second suspect matched with the DNA collected from the knife that was found stained with blood sputter suspected to have been the murder weapon.

However, the prosecution weakened their case for a failure to collect fingerprints from the knife, underwear, and whistle. Neither effort was taken to take DNA from her underwear or the whistle, so the collection of those pieces of evidence was futile, not advancing the prosecution case. Of worst, the investigators did not ascertain whether that knife was a murder weapon by matching her DNA with the blood spatter found in the blade.

To date, there is no evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt whether that knife was a murder weapon due to the incompetence of the investigators: Nobody today can confirm the bloodstains in the knife were the murdered woman. However, the court’s finding that the DNA did not put the second suspect in the crime scene is disputed by the expert witness and may be a ground for appeal if the DPP wishes to pursue that matter further.

From the evidence recorded in the High Court, there was sufficient evidence that the murder of Aneth Msuya was an inside job, but the motive behind and who did it remains fuzzy. Knowing the High Court has rejected the nexus of the DNA that placed the second suspect at the crime scene we can now appreciate in full why Antudia Msuya felt justice was not served. The killers of her beloved sister may have defeated the scales of justice.

This matter was bungled by the investigators who violated clear rules of the chain of evidence collection. DNA collection demands that all sides fill the forms to ensure the accused has no room to recant the evidence to convict him. It is difficult to fathom the investigators would not have wanted to know the identity of those who slashed her throat through fingerprinting evidence and matching her DNA with the blood sputter found in the suspected murder weapon, the knife!

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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