Lauding JPM humanitarianism for sabotage plea bargaining

25Sep 2019
The Guardian
Lauding JPM humanitarianism for sabotage plea bargaining

RELIEF is in the air for families of suspects of economic sabotage and a broad section of the public, in relation to the ‘peace of the brave’ outlet floated by President Dr John Magufuli lately. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has already set out details of how freedom can be accessed -

- for those facing economic sabotage charges. The conditions need to be rapidly accomplished so as to stay within the grace period fixed by the president, to take simply one week.

 The DPP told a press conference that those facing these charges must first put aside their lawyers so as to avoid conflicts of intention on what their letters of intent to access the leniency facility actually intended. They are supposed to write letters to show the individual’s intention to admit to those offences. That would be followed by intent to pay up.

What was particularly remarkable about the president’s remarks at the State House ceremony to swear in various government officials, was that he was sad at the situation that those who are languishing in prison face. There was a humanitarian bent to his expression that is perhaps too often forgotten how far it is a substantial aspect of his personal outlook and governance disposition. It is thus a humanitarian streak that was being used at the right time, to say enough is enough, that something must be done to clear up this mess. But it is being put to use in a way that doesn’t obviate from the judicial process, admitting guilt and restituting the state.

This sort of situation is complicated, as the government has actually lost many of the cases it has entered in various courts with private individuals. When recently such a ruling came, the government won on a technicality that a ‘municipal court’ in South Africa wasn’t empowered to adjudicate on an issue of investment disputation and remedies, as it was too close to the complainant. This broke natural justice norms of one not being a judge in his own case, that is, one’s pals ruling on the case; instead, empowered tribunals handle such issues.

In the cases lined up in Dar es Salaam courts, not only is there an agonizing situation of elderly people languishing and wasting in remand prison, but complicated issues of legal and illegal actions or events. The plea bargaining option set out is likely to be more inclusive if it envisages that those charged have things to say in their defence, but are ready to meet the state’s demands, for the sake of their freedom. It means that the parties meet halfway, that any money that is ill gotten is returned; that they be ready to admit clever gaining of cash.

There is an additional aspect about an enabling environment in the manner in which most of the sabotage cases took place, that there were systems in place where they were just actors. In many instances they did not put these events into motion but cooperated as agents in an enterprise with plenty of economic sense but with clever things planted therein. The spirit of clemency includes recognizing that the greater evil is often in the system rather than with economic agents that gain in making use of its prerogatives, and helping others as well, often top public officials, to realize set objectives. …()