Arusha, Tanzania’s based Lucky Vincent School owner Innocent Mushi and the school’s headmaster, Vincent Longino Nkana have appeared before Resident Magistrate Desdery Kamugisha to answer charges of transporting schoolchildren without a permit.
Reading the five counts facing the two school officials, public prosecutor Rose Sulle alleged that Mushi was running the service without having a valid permit issued by the Transport Licensing Board (TLB).
She further charged that on May 6, this year, Mushi used a Mitsubishi Rosa minibus to ferry schoolchildren without having a valid TLB licence, which was against the law.
According to the public prosecutor, Mushi was also charged with failing to enter a formal contract with the driver, Dismas Joseph Gasper, who also died in the accident.
The driver, alongside 32 pupils and two teachers from Lucky Vincent School, died on Saturday last week when the school minibus they were travelling in plunged into a roadside ravine in Karatu district, Arusha region, in one of the nation’s worst road tragedies.
Mushi is also accused of directing the driver to carry more passengers than the actual capacity of the ill-fated minibus, hence overloading the vehicle.
The minibus had 38 passengers on board when it met its tragic fate, 13 more passengers than its actual specification.
Detailing the assistant headmaster’s offence, the public prosecutor charged that the teacher, on the fateful day, had authorised transportation of the pupils in the overloaded minibus when he knew it was against the Traffic Act of 2015.
For his part, defence attorney Method Kimomogoro asked the court to grant his clients bail, a request which went unopposed by the state attorney.
The accused persons submitted a Sh15 million bond each plus two sureties, with a condition not to leave Arusha without the court’s permission. They were also ordered to surrender their travel documents.
They were able to meet the bail conditions and set free until June 8 this year.
Meanwhile, a total of Sh215million has been raised so far as condolences to the bereaved families.
Giving an update yesterday, Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo said the contributions were submitted to his office from the National Assembly, Zanzibar House of Representatives and other well-wishers from public and private institutions.