President John Magufuli yesterday blamed the judiciary on delayed tax evasion cases involving 7.5 trillion/-, asking the courts to play an effective role in boosting the treasury coffers through timely dispensation of justice.
Dr Magufuli on the other hand expressed concerns over what he described as ‘bad-blood’ between the Attorney General’s Chamber and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), directing the two public institutions to mend their differences.
The hostility between the AG and DPP offices, Dr Magufuli noted, was to blame for ‘watered down evidences’ presented before courts of law in which eventually the government, as a plaintiff, loses cases to defendants.
“These cases have been pending since the year 2005, the total amount involved is 7.5tri/-,” President Magufuli remarked at the Law Day and new judiciary year in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The day was marked under a theme, “Timely justice for economic growth.
” The president argued that the colossal amount being contested in court cases could have played a critical role in improving social amenities for the benefits of all Tanzanians. “Even the judiciary faces acute shortage of funds for development projects, but these cases are still pending and as a result denying the country revenues for growth,” he observed.
He added; “I am told that when these cases are heard and ruling comes in favour of the government, the offenders appeal at high courts and when they lose they turn to what is described in court circles as ‘case parking.’
Dr Magufuli further pledged to present details of the cases to the Acting Chief Justice of Tanzania, Prof Ibrahim Juma, for review and further actions. “I fail to understand whether it is lack of communication between the judiciary and the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) or what, these revenues should be claimed for development,” he noted with concerns. Stating further; “To me, dispensation of justice means (among others) sourcing funds to serve the people.”
Due to financial constraints, said the president, only six of 80 judges who were on foreign visits last year had their trips Dr Magufuli as well took issues with the police force and the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), which he accused of sloppy investigations and at times destroying evidence.
“Why, for instance, should investigations take long when a criminal has been apprehended red-handed with illicit drugs or elephant tusks?” wondered President Magufuli, adding: “I know these criminals have a lot of money which they use to bribe the law enforcers to destroy exhibits...this should stop.” At the event, Dr Magufuli urged the judiciary to use members of the law enforcement agencies to provide security at its premises to reduce redundant employees in the state organs.
The Acting CJ had earlier complained that the judiciary faces a shortage of workers, stating that its current workforce stand at 6,500. “Why should you hire guards for your facilities and yet you can make use of the police?” he queried and challenged the judiciary to reduce the number of redundant workers.
“The number of employees you have at the moment exceeds by far the workforce of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
” President Magufuli as well lashed at the Tanzania Law Society (TLS), accusing it of embracing partisan politics, urging the association to operate neutrally.
Present at the ceremony yesterday were Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai, Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, Chief Secretary John Kijazi, Principal Judge Ferdinand Wambali, as well as heads of security and defence forces and other high ranking government officials.