Kitilya, co-convicts hit snag in court

AN attempt by former Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Harry Kitilya and two others to
challenge conviction, sentence and orders issued against them after plea bargaining arrangement for causing loss of US Dollars 600 million loan acquisition deal has hit a snag.

This follows the decision by the High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crime Division to dismiss the application under which Kitilya, former Head of Investment Banking at Stanbic Bank, Shose Sinare and ex- Chief Legal Counsel of the bank, Sioi Solomon, the applicants, had lodged for such purpose.

In their move, the trio had applied for extension of time to file another application to set aside the conviction, sentence and orders, including paying 1.5bn/- compensation to the government made on August 25, 2020 in the
economic trial they were facing, alleging misrepresentation and involuntariness.

“It is the finding of this court; in particular circumstances of this case, the applicants have failed to assign sufficient cause to warrant this court to grant extension of time. Consequently, this application is
hereby dismissed,” Judge Immaculata Banzi ruled.

The counsel for the applicants had argued that the alleged delay in lodging the application was caused by inaction of the court to supply the applicants with copy of the proceedings of the case, in order to determine
misrepresentation as a ground for setting aside the conviction arising out of plea agreement.

However, the judge pointed out that the court was not supposed to involve in negotiations leading to the plea agreement as per section 19A (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act, thus the fact that how, where and when such
negotiations and agreement were conducted are not part of proceedings.

“I would agree with the submission of (the prosecution) that the only proceedings which would assist the applicants to determine grounds of involuntariness or misrepresentation are the proceedings of the final day
which contains facts upon which their conviction was based,” the judge said.

She also pointed out that whether the negotiations and signing of the plea agreement were conducted around the court premises, when the court was not in session, that could not mean the court was involved in that process.

According to the judge, what transpired between the parties which may constitute involuntariness or misrepresentation are facts known to the parties themselves.

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