Tanzania: To Bail Or Not To Bail Former Revenue Authority Boss

Harry Kitilya the former Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), who is facing 12bn/- (six million dollars) money laundering charges, has petitioned the High Court, challenging the law prohibiting him from being granted bail.

In line with the zero tolerance for corruption initiated by President John Magufuli of Tanzania, immediately he took over as President on 5th November 2015, Mr. Harry Kitilya and his accused colleagues are busy smelling the rod, wherever they are. Smelling the rod? Haba! Don’t they like to smell something else? What of perfume instead. Perfume? You cannot be serious! Definitely not when you are accused in the present day Tanzania of embezzling billions of dollars of public fund ““ and absolutely, not when President John “Bulldozer“ Magufuli is in charge! Things are no more the same.

Apart from Mr. Harry Kitilya, others like Shose Snare, former Miss Tanzania and Head of Investment Banking at Stannic Bank and Soi Graham Solomon, former Chief Legal Counsel to the bank, are equally being squeezed by the authority for corrupt practices, including money laundering, presenting false documents, conspiracy to commit an offence, forgery, and obtaining six million US dollars (about 12bn/-) by false pretences. They are accused of transferring, withdrawing and depositing more than six million US dollars in different bank accounts owned by EGMA Limited at Stannic Bank Tanzania Limited and KCB Bank Limited.

Under section 48 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), persons charged with money laundering offences are prohibited from being granted a bail. It is this law that Mr. Harry Kitilyaa and other accused persons in the separate money laundering cases are challenging.

Arguably, the accused insisted that the said section 48 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), is not only unconstitutional, but a direct violation of Article 13 (6) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, which says: “To ensure equality before the law, the state authority shall make procedures which are appropriate or which take into account the following principles, namely no person charged with a criminal offence shall be treated as guilty of the offence until proved guilty of that offence.“

 

QUESTION: Do you think that Mr. Harry Kitilya and other accused persons must be bailed until they are convicted of the crime they are accused of? Or having in mind the level of corruption in Africa and the loopholes within the law, must the accused be kept behind the bars till the case is decided in the court? Please share your opinions on Kata Kata.

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