THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Sylvester Mwakitalu, has directed that all criminal cases be instituted in court after completion of investigations to enable the Judiciary of Tanzania offer timely justice to citizens.
Mr Mwakitalu issued such directives immediately after meeting and holding talks with Executives of the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, as part of promoting good relationship and co-operation in work performance.
“From now on, all the cases that will be brought before the Court should only be those with investigations completed, as what the Judiciary of Tanzania, through the Chief, Prof. Ibrahim Juma, seeks to have a case should not to exceed a year before it is heard,” he said.
In a statement issued by the National Prosecution Office, Mr Mwakitalu also pointed out that such a strategy would lead to elimination of the piling up of cases in various courts in the country.
In addition, the DPP said that he would now make sure he signs all cases, which require his consent before they are heard, especially cases pending at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court to remove such backlog.
He noted that when a case takes long time to be heard, in many cases its witnesses disappear as a result of different circumstances, including moving from one place to another or even death.
He, therefore, assured the Judiciary of his close co-operation to facilitate the resolution of such a challenge. “For example, so far a total of 369 cases have passed the red line, thus entering among backlog cases, a situation that contributes to the existence of public complaints. I assure you my office and my staff will not be a hindrance to this, when I am the DPP,” said Mr Mwakitalu.
He said that for the cases to be expedited and speedy hearing seen, the institutions involved in the criminal dispensation justice must work closely together to address the grievances and challenges, which cause delays in the proceedings.
The Director of Public Prosecutions also promised to address the issue of plea bargaining within a week, which has proved to be a problem, so that the effectiveness of the work could continue.
According to Mr Mwakitalu, the Government’s special legal team would meet to see how to improve the plea bargaining laws in various cases, especially Economic and Organized related criminal matters.
Reporting on the state of the case, Senior Resident Magistrate in Charge Godfrey Isaya informed the DPP that for the period of January to June 10, 2021 various cases had been dealt with, of which 579 remained last year and 132 new cases received by May and 167 cases heard.
In addition, the magistrate said that there were a total of eight cases that have taken a long time due to the challenge of lacking witnesses, a situation that leads to taking a long time without being heard.
However, he pointed out another challenge relating to delay in the completion of investigations, including those involving bhang peddle, contribute to the accumulation of cases.
“There are many cases that have stalled due to the lack of witnesses, other cases are awaiting the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said, citing some of the cases as those of government trophies and illicit traffic in drugs.
In another development, the DPP visited Keko Prison in Dar es Salaam to see the real situation, where he had the opportunity to speak with inmates and remand prisoners.
After seeing for himself, Mr. Mwakitalu said that overcrowding in the prison gives him the motivation to work hard, diligently and knowledgeably to solve the challenges of congestion in prisons.
In order to address the delayed investigation, as submitted through a message issued by the remand prisoners of the prison, the Director of Public Prosecutions said he would sit with the detectives and make decisions that would help eliminate the challenge.
In addition, Mr. Mwakitalu promised to review bail bond documents to see if the reasons that led to their non-release existed or not so that he could act swiftly to decongest the prisons.