JUST IN: Judicial officers must demand speedy trials

Source: JUST IN: Judicial officers must demand speedy trials | Herald (Africa)

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
JUDICIAL officers presiding in anti- corruption courts must demand speedy trials on all cases involving corruption and avoid turning the special courts into theatres of bail hearings, a High Court judge has said.

Justice Kwenda stressed the need to expeditiously deal with corruption cases. He made the remarks in the case involving the Prosecutor-General and gold dealer Ali Mohammed.

The State was seeking to have his bail revoked on appeal. However, the appeal failed to find merit with the court.

“Once a person is arrested on a charge of corruption because all the ingredients have already been ascertained to be present, there is no reason to delay trial,” said Justice Kwenda.

The judge expressed his disquite over special anti- corruption courts which he said were slowly being turned into bail courts.

“Instead of dealing with the merits of corruption allegations, courts are inundated with bail applications and variations of bail conditions without the trials taking place,” he said.

“The drama associated with the side shows must be resisted by all those involved in the anti-corruption courts if the courts are to be effective in discharging their mandates of quickly dealing with corruption matters.”

Special anti-corruption courts have been established throughout the country to give priority to cases of corruption. However, most if not all corruption trials are failing to commence for various reasons, even where evidence is overwhelming.