22 January 2018

Tanzania: Accused Up in Arms Over Delay

Dar es Salaam — A former Reli Asset Holding Company (Rahco) director general and two other people charged with abuse of office and occasioning the government a Sh1 billion loss have queried why their case has not made any progress nearly two years after they were arraigned.

State Attorney Patrick Mwita and Mr Oliver Bukuru from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) prompted strong reaction from the accused after telling the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was still going through the case file.

The accused are former Rahco director general Benhadard Tito, businessman Kanji Mwinyijuma and Rahco company secretary Emmanuel Massawe. They were first charged on March 14, 2016.

The prosecution told Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba when the case came up for mention at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court that the DPP and PCCB director general were still discussing how to proceed with the matter.

Speaking on behalf of his co-accused, Mr Tito told the court that the prosecution's failure to make it possible for the case to be heard expeditiously amounted to their being denied justice since they had been behind bars for close to two years.

He said no tangible evidence had been presented to the court since they were first charged, adding that the prosecution had no concrete grounds for delaying the case.

The accused further said that the prosecution told the court on February 28, last year, that the case file was with the DPP, and was later returned in May, but since then nothing was going on.

"It seems that there are instructions that we should be left to die in prison. If that is the case, then we should be told so that we can know," Mr Tito said.

Mr Simba said he had taken note of the accused's concerns and directed the prosecution to work on the complaints and ensure that justice was done. He adjourned the case to January 29.

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