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Corruption needs special court, MPs tell govt

26th June 2010
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Mpanda Central legislator Said Arfi contributes to debate on the 2010/11 budget estimates of the Justice and Constitutional Affairs ministry in the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday. (Photo: Selemani Mpochi)

Members of Parliament yesterday advised the government to establish a special court to deal with corruption cases so that justice could be done without delay.

Presenting the report of the Parliamentary Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Justice and Administration, the committee chairman, George Lubeleje, said the establishment of the court would help justice to be done without delay.

“We advise the government to establish a court that will deal with cases related to corruption…this will make it easy for justice to be done at the right time,” he said.

He however called on the government to establish a judiciary fund that would enable effective implementation of important issues related to the institution.

“As it is in the case of the Parliament and Controller and Auditor General funds, the government should also set up one for the judiciary,” he noted.

When tabling budget estimates for the financial year 2010/11, Constitutional Affairs and Justice minister Mathias Chikawe said that his ministry was working hard to ensure that the government succeeded in its efforts to root out corruption. The budget estimates amounted to 116,871,006,000/-

“Up to May this year, 160 case files on corruption allegations were submitted to the prosecution division from the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB),” he said.

Chikawe said that out of them, charge sheets were prepared for 45 cases, 66 were returned for further investigations, while 3 were cancelled after the DPP was satisfied that evidences furnished were not sufficient for prosecution.

He said that the prosecution division was still working on 46 case files referred to it, while 16 cases involving grand corruption, including the External Payment Arrears (EPAs) and abuse of office were filed in court in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

He said the government had increased court assessors’ allowances to 5,000/- from 1,500/- per completed case with effect from the 2010/11 financial year.

Chikawe said that the increment took into consideration the importance of the work done by the assessors.

“The government has decided to increase the allowance of the court assessors to 5,000/- for each completed case from 1,500/- effective from the coming financial year,” he said.

On the establishment of the Kadhi courts, the minister said the government was neither objecting the move nor the setting up of its office on the Mainland.

“According to available information, a panel of Islamic academics is currently reviewing Islamic laws on marriage and inheritance with the intention of listing them so that they could be recognised under the Islamic Laws Restatement Act,” he said.

For her part, opposition spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs and Justice ministry Fatma Maghimbi called on the government to deparate the office of the Director of Public Prosecution ftom that of the Attorney General.

She said the DPP’s office was established after realising that prosecution work was a broad undertaking.

“Todate, the DPP’s office has continued to be regarded as one of the departments of the AG’s office making it to be dependent and loose the whole concept of separation of powers,” she observed. She said in most cases the DPP’s office encountered inconveniences in executing its work.

Substantiating, she said, the DPP’s office always requested funds from the AG’s office in carrying out its operations.

“The opposition is of the view that the DPP’s office should be given its autonomy,” she said.

Meanwhile, unethical practices, corruption and professional misconducts have been singled out as key factors in the poor performance of public health facilities.

“Moral and ethical conducts are deteriorating in Tanzania, that’s why our public health facilities are underperforming,” said Medical Women Association of Tanzania (Mewata) executive director Dr Sarah Maongezi.

She was speaking at a forum organised by the World Bank to discuss issues related to accountability and transparency in the public sector.

According to her, the health code of ethics is grossly violated by health workers who act ineffectively in the implementation of health reforms.

Maongezi said that in their study conducted in Dar es Salaam and Mtwara regions recently, they discovered that 60 per cent of unethical practices reported concerned authorities.

Concurring with Mewata boss’s comments, Tanzania Nurses and Midwives registrar Gustar Moyo said misconducts and unethical practices are influenced by increased negative public image towards nurses, something that frustrates and demoralises them.

“Workforce shortages in all health facilities also contributes to the low quality of services,” he said.

For his part, Tanzania Council for Social Development (Tacosode) grants manager Abdallah Shamte said even most civil societies were operating unprofessionally without laid down rules and regulations.

He said that most of the NGO were run based on experience and were not considering accountability and transparency as important matters.

However, a senior Prevention of Combating and Corruption Bureau (PCCB) investigations officer, Ezekia Sinkala, said corruption was now affecting the entire social fabric, adding that the watchdog was taking strategies including training and disseminating public education in a quest to combat the vice.

By Lydia Shekighenda, Dodoma and Judica Tarimo in Dar

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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