Tanzania: Lawyers Appeal for Time Limit in Investigating Court Cases

Dar es Salaam — Just a day after businessman James Rugemalira was released from remand prison, lawyers have suggested changes in the law to set a time limit for investigations in court cases.

Mr Rugemalira was released after the prosecutors dropped charges against him on Thursday, about four years since he was charged in court as investigations into an alleged economic crime case went on.

The lawyers now recommend that the powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) be limited so that there were no loopholes for long-term remand which ends with releasing suspects for various reasons, including a lack of evidence.

Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) executive director Anna Henga said the law could stipulate that the investigation must be completed within three months, after which the accused should be released.

"If there is limited time to investigate, the DPP's office would be serious in investigating cases. What we want is due process of the law," she said. A lawyer, Mr Alloyce Komba, said it was important to set an investigations time limit for cases to stop people from being detained indefinitely. "We want investigations into criminal cases to be limited. This would reduce the number of people being held in remand for a long time on the pretext that investigations have not been completed," he said - suggesting limiting DPP's powers.

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