Accused decry ‘technical’ punishment… vide court delays

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THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar res Salaam yesterday gave the prosecution seven days to come up with clear position on how to proceed with criminal trial of top leaders involved in a questionable 15tril/- standard gauge railway line project.

Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba gave the orders after receiving complaints from the accused persons relating to inordinate delays in investigations into the matter –during which one of the accused claimed that the prosecution was using the court to impose ‘technical jail terms’ against them.

The accused persons are former Director- General with Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO), Engineer Benhadard Tito, Kanji Mwinyijuma, a businessman and RAHCO Company Secretary, Emanuel Massawe.

It was State Attorney Patrick Mwita, for the prosecution, who provoked the accused persons to raise their concerns.

The trial attorney had submitted that a process was “under way” for the prosecution to file “information” of the trial to the High Court for hearing–which strongly opposed by Kanji Mwinyijuma, who rose on behalf of his coaccused persons, arguing that there weren’t any compelling reasons for the prosecution to continue detaining them.

“What the prosecution is doing is totally improper…this amounts to punishment on our part…and it’s aimed at undermining justice. We pray to the court to intervene so that this matter comes to the conclusion,” he submitted.

He argued that prior to their first arraignment, they were reporting to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) for investigations into the matter. On March 14, 2016, he narrated, they were taken to court to face the charges with a certificate to deny them bail.

“Since then, the prosecution position has not changed … they’re using this court to punish us technically… as we stand today…we are being punished,” he claimed.

Before adjourning the trial to September 18, the magistrate said, “This is a message and strong message to the prosecution. I give you seven days to come up with clear position on how to proceed with this case. I will have to be more aggressive on that day.”

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