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Last Updated: Friday, 11 July, 2003, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Tanzania's bullet-carrying minister
The Tanzanian minister in charge of poverty reduction, Edgar Maokola-Majogo, has admitted that Indian police found a single bullet in his possession at Mumbai airport, but denies any ulterior motive.
The bullet was found in the minister's brief case

Mr Maokola-Majogo says the bullet was found by Indian security agents minutes before he boarded his flight back to Tanzania after attending a conference on poverty reduction in India.

He told the BBC that the bullet was inadvertently left in his brief case when he left the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, for India.

"The special hunting gun bullet accidentally dropped from a packet inside my brief case which also had all my conference papers," said Mr Maokola-Majogo.


He says that he is an ardent hunter and is licensed to carry a hunting gun in Tanzania.

What could I do with a single bullet without my hunting gun
Edgar Maokola-Majogo

"What could I do with a single bullet without my hunting gun which I left back in Tanzania," asked the minister.

Tanzania's Majira newspaper on Thursday quoted Indian press reports as saying that the minister had been held by Indian security agents for about eight hours after bullets were found in his possession.

But Mr Maokola-Majogo says that Indian police neither harassed, arrested or charged him with any offence.

He says that he voluntarily wrote a one-page statement regarding the bullet found in his possession and was immediately allowed to proceed with his journey home.

He has asked the newspaper to publish an apology.

Mr Maokolo-Majogo blames his political enemies for what he describes as 'witch hunting'.

He has now written to Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa; the Prime Minister, Frederick Sumaye; and the Attorney-General Andrew Chenge explaining the sequence of events.

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