5 February 2016

Tanzania: Speed Up 'Late' Cases - Magufuli

President John Magufuli has directed the Judiciary to fast track cases of economic sabotage pending in courts since 2010, denying the government earnings amounting to 1trillion/-.

Speaking at the official commemoration of the new Judiciary year and Law Day at the Mahakama Grounds in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the president said the government will only win the fight against corruption and economic sabotage if the Judiciary would embrace patriotism.

Dr Magufuli noted that there are 442 cases of economic sabotage pending in courts since 2010, which would have fetched the government 1tri/-, promising the Judiciary 250bn/- to address challenges it faces and the rest to go into overhauling Air Tanzania, including purchasing new airbuses and putting in place a new airline management.

He further noted that there are 556 cases in the Land Division of the High Court, whose ruling is pending because the Registrar has failed to write a letter and forward the case files to the High Court for a decision.

"All these are happening when there is a Land Commissioner in the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development," Dr Magufuli observed. He further revealed that another 26 cases of suspects caught red-handed with government trophies, including elephant tusks, are also pending in courts for more than five years due to incomplete investigations on the side of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Police.

"This is very sad. What exactly are they investigating when the suspects were caught red-handed complete with evidence, Or are these techniques for seeking bribes?" queried the president.

Dr Magufuli said the law and the judiciary were the only ways to provide justice and as one of the pillars of the state, it should speed up economic sabotage cases that have been undermining the country's economy

"The longer these cases take, the harder it is for the Tanzania Revenue Authority officers to collect taxes from big businessmen in the country who run to court as a cover so that they can continue to rip off the government," he charged.

The president told his audience that although most of the suspects have a lot of money, he had high belief in the Judiciary - that it would ensure Tanzanians get justice.

"Courts, especially judges, should put Tanzania's interests and patriotism first so that justice can be done," he appealed. The president directed the Judiciary to speed up establishment of the Economic Sabotage court, stressing that the longer it takes the longer corrupt officials continue to sabotage the nation's economy.

Dr Magufuli noted that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) spent 70bn/- to issue 22.7 million voter cards while the National Identification Authority (NIDA) spent 177 billion/- and processed only 2 million national IDs.

"I am not crazy, neither am I a dictator....I am forced to make these decisions because of the situation on the ground.

We cannot let such people continue to undermine this country's economy," he explained. He directed Chief Justice Chande Mohamed Othman to take stern measures against 508 magistrates who failed to meet their case disposal target, stressing that Tanzania has many bachelor and master degree holders in law who are unemployed.

"I am not interfering with the Judiciary; but they were not supposed to go against the directives of the CJ....giving them seven days to show why disciplinary action should not be taken against them is not enough," he noted. "I fail to understand how we can be poor when we are rich in natural resources.

Today, Tanzania is the only country where tanzanite is mined. But the leading markets selling the gemstone and who are benefiting from it are in India and Kenya.

We need to change...with all these riches, Tanzania should have been a donor country," Dr Magufuli noted.

The president said it pains him so much to see Tanzania begging for aid when the country has the capacity to provide its own domestic financial resources, "What kind of sickness is ailing us; it saddens me that we are where we are when we have all these resources," he stressed.

Dr Magufuli explained that the Fifth Phase Government's priority is to reduce government expenditure and direct funds to areas with high needs for the benefit of the public.

Earlier in his speech, Chief Justice Othman said the Judiciary is geared to execute its duties at the speed that the president requires, noting that he had directed that from last month, all cases in the primary and district courts should not last for more than six months.

He promised that the Economic Sabotage Court will start operating this year, noting that all preparations for its establishment are in order.

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