ALL essential and sensitive documents and information within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are safe, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Dr Augustine Mahiga, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The long serving Tanzanian diplomat, Ambassador Mahiga, was clarifying on the widely reported alleged theft of some computers containing some data and crucial information involving persons charged with economic offences in various courts countrywide.
"None of the computers in the DPP's Office have been touched. All relevant documents are in place and the work is continuing normally. There are a few computer units that have been stolen in the small office of the prosecution in the Dar es Salaam Zone," Dr Mahiga clarified.
The minister was, however, quick to point out that the alleged theft of the units at the regional office located along Mkepu Street in Ilala District has not affected the daily activities of the DPP at the Head Office.
Ambassador Mahiga said: "The DPP's Head Office is safe and all vital documents are in place and work is continuing normally. The reported theft has not affected the performance of the DPP. "
The minister refuted the widely circulated reports on the alleged theft of important documents.
He said that the theft incidence seemed to have touched people's minds, especially at this time when the office is in the process of negotiating and entering into agreements with people facing economic sabotage cases.
The minister declined to go into details on the issue as the police are continuing with their investigations.
Earlier this week, Dar es Salaam Special Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the theft incidence and assured the public that the police had launched investigations into the matter.
According to him, the police received information about the theft incidence on October 15, 2019 at the office of the DPP, Dar es Salaam Zone.
He pointed out that the police were continuing with the investigations and no arrest had so far been made in connection with the incidence.
The theft comes as the DPP's office is busy scrutinising several letters written by accused persons facing economic charges in response to the amnesty granted by President John Magufuli.
It is reported that more than 138 persons have been discharged from various remand prisons countrywide after having agreed to compensate the government billions of shillings.
More reports also suggest that the process was still underway in relation to 500 other accused persons, who had also applied for pardon.
Among persons who benefited from the amnesty include Mohamed Mustafa Yusufali, alias Mohamedali, alias Choma, alias Jamalii, who was facing case nick branded by President John Magufuli as "Million Saba kwa Dakika."
He has been released from remand prison after agreeing to pay over 24bn/-.
The rest, who also entered a plea-bargaining agreement with the DPP on how to repay the loss occasioned include the Chief Executive Officer with Bank M, Sanjeev Kumar Purushothaman, alias P. Sanjeev Kumar.
There are also renowned advocates Dr Ringo Tenga and Frank Mwalongo, as well as former Managing Director with Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB), Peter Noni, Managing Director of Six Telecoms Company Limited, Hafidh Shamte, alias Rashid Shamte and the Company's Chief Finance Officer Noel Chacha.
On October 1, 2019, President Magufuli received a list of 467 economic sabotage suspects who have opted to plead guilty to their charges and repay over 100bn/- for release from remand prison.
The list was presented to him by the DPP. During the dossier receipt at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Dr Magufuli extended the deadline for seven more days up to October 7, 2019, to allow other accused persons who could have failed to meet the initial deadline.
The given procedure requires the accused to submit his or her confessions in one’s own hand writing to the DPP.
Such letter initiates a plea-bargaining agreement as indicated under Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), as amended by the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No.4) Act of 2019.
When an accused writes to the DPP for a plea-bargaining process, the accused persons or his or her advocate or a public prosecutor has to notify the court when the case is being presided over of the intention to negotiate a plea agreement as per section 194A (2) of the Act.
Dr Magufuli had on September 22, 2019, while swearing in various leaders whom he had appointed, advised the DPP to consider dropping charges facing economic crime suspects through the legal channels should the defendants confess their crimes and repay the loss involved.
But he warned that after expiry of the new deadline, there would be no mercy for economic sabotage criminals, ordering the chief prosecutor to press hard on their charges in courts.
He assured the suspects and others who have not responded that the amnesty was genuine.
President Magufuli directed the DPP to expedite procedures for early release of the suspects, saying, "We also understand that some businesses by these suspects have stalled due to their incarceration, once released they will continue with their businesses from which the government will collect taxes."
The DPP said some suspects agreed to refund 7.884bn/- in local currency and 2.563 million US dollars (over 5.7bn/-), promptly raking in 13.6bn/-.
Other suspects have agreed to repay 94.240bn/- in installments as per agreement between the two parties, bringing the total amount to 107.842bn/- .