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Zanzibar CJ: Fighting corruption, rape uphill task

3rd February 2013
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Zanzibar Chief Justice Omar Othman Makungu has said poor drafting of charges and reluctance of residents to adduce evidence in court contribute to failure by the judiciary to dispense justice in the Isles.

The chief justice mentioned rape and corruption as cases on which the judiciary failing to dispense justice due to such two major factors.

Because of the reasons, several suspects in cases involving of rape and corruption have been walking free, bringing about grievances to the public.

Judge Makungu registered his concern yesterday when speaking to reporters at his office in Vuga on the commemoration of Legal Day to be marked on February 7.

He said police and public prosecutors are also to blame for failure by the court to dispense justice as most of the time they fail to draft the charges properly.

When asked if Zanzibar prosecutors were qualified enough to handle cases in court, Judge Makungu wanted the reporters seek the answers from Zanzibar director of public prosecution.

Giving statistics Judge Makungu said from 2010 to 2011 a total of 127 cases were opened in court but only three accused were convicted out of 66 cases prosecuted in Unguja and 58 in Pemba for lack of evidence.

Speaking on rape cases Judge Makungu said police investigators have been making errors in compiling reports. Such errors are found in medical investigation reports and the dates when the crimes are committed.

Drafting of charges is poorly done and people shun away from adducing evidence in courts. This creates loopholes for the suspects to be freed,” he complained.

Also he blamed the growing trend in Zanzibar whereby families settle rape cases with suspects’ instead of reporting to police for further legal measures.

Speaking about combating corruption in the judiciary the he said with the establishment of anti-corruption watchdog in the Isles the war is simplified.

However, he said fighting corruption in the Isles could be much easier if citizens cooperated with authorities by uncovering suspects.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY