RCs, DCs on spotlight over power abuse

THE report by the Commission for Accessing Criminal Justice in the country has highlighted various recommendations aimed at improving access to justice in the country.

The recommendations follow major weaknesses uncovered by the commission when investigating performance of the country’s criminal justice institutions.

The institutions probed include the Police Force, National Prosecution Services (NPS), Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Tanzania Prisons Service and Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA).

Presenting the report to President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, the Commission’s chairman and the former Chief Justice, Mohammed Chande Othman recommended that Regional and District Commissioners must abide by laws when implementing arresting order in order to avoid complaints related to abuse of power.

He said during the investigation the commission discovered that RCs and DCs abuse power when arresting and detaining people.

The former CJ said when executing arrest orders, the authorities (RCs and DCs) must observe the law which requires the offence which has been committed in front of the leader, should be a criminal offence and has caused a breach of peace and harmony and the leader should also write to the magistrate informing the reason for the arrest.

He said despite the law being clear, such a legal requirement has never been fulfilled. The commission recommended that any leader who  will go contrary to the directives must be held accountable, citing a case resulting from Siha DC who detained a person and caused the government to pay a 90m/- fine.

On other authorities that are given power to arrest, the commission recommended that the court should be removed from the list because it is a peacekeeper.

Chande said there have been complaints from citizens about RCs and DCs attending meetings while accompanied by the police, saying the situation has been creating fear among wanachi thus failing to give out their views on issues facing their communities.

The commission also recommended that there must be a formation of the National Bureau of Investigation to speed up investigation and include experts who will execute their work according to the laws.

Adding, he said that criminal offence bodies including NPS, PCCB, the Prisons and DCEA must be improved to increase efficiency in investigations.

He went on to say: “The government should join forces of the four institutions and create a new and free National Bureau of Investigation which will be responsible for taking all the serious criminal offences including corruption and drugs.”

Another part that the commission recommended is that the accused be taken to court on time and not allowed to arrest the suspect when the investigation is not completed. According to the law the suspect is required to be taken to court within 24 hours after arrest and while the investigations are completed.

“The accused should be arrested and taken to the court after the investigation has been completed; they also have to be taken to the court within 24 hours from the time the accused is under arrest and not otherwise,” he said.

He said that these recommendations are to be applied so as to reduce the number of complaints that are raised by citizens and they found that when they were doing research and asking people about all the things that are about the criminal justice system in the country.

Other recommendations include identifying the criminal offences because the statistics show that there is an increase of crimes by 9.8 per cent including murder, armed robbery and the shameful act of throwing away newborn babies.

He added that in order for the country to fight against crimes they recommend that the 10-cell system should be legally and officially recognised by the government so that citizens can recognise each other and link together housing registration, RITA and NIDA so that every Tanzanian should be recognised throughout.

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