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Prosecution system in Tanzania

Prosecution system in Tanzania is under control of The National Prosecution Service(NPS). NPS is the prosecution body in Tanzania established under section 4(1) of the National Prosecution Service Act[1] and imposed with mandate to prosecute criminal offences and hold offenders accountable for their actions as provided under section 9(1)(a) of the NPS Act[2]. The office is under control of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who is imposed with official powers to monitor day to day activities of National Prosecution Office. DPP is a presidential appointee who is given several other powers as provided under Art. 59B of the Constitution[3], Section 91(1) of Criminal Procedure Act[4] and Section 16 of the National Prosecution Service Act[5]. To accomplish prosecution purposes, the national prosecution office has a variety of functions, including the investigation of criminal cases, collection of exhibits, and the presentation of cases in court except martial court.

There are two types of prosecution in Tanzania namely public prosecution and private prosecution which all acceptable and used to prosecute offenders.             
Public prosecution is that prosecution brought by public prosecutor on behalf of a state or government. The public prosecution is covered in the Act 27, 2008 National Prosecution Service Act. According to section 4(C) it provided on established National Prosecution Services. The service shall consist director and such other officer appointed o assist the director to perform the functions of the services, the director shall be head of operation in services in relation to prosecution and co ordination of investigation duties conducted by the investigate organs.

Private prosecution is that prosecution brought by the private individual. This mandate allowed in section 99(1) of Criminal Procedure Act, before instituting a case one must seek have of the  court, private prosecution in Tanzania as per section 99 of Criminal Procedure Act is limited to those cases tribal in Magistrate Court Act.

Prosecution system is under director of public prosecution, who must be appointed by president of United Republic of Tanzania. Appointment of director of public prosecution is provided under article 59B (1) of a constitution of United Republic Tanzania 1977 that “There shall be a director of public prosecutions who shall be appointed by the president from amongst persons with qualifications specified in sub article (2) of article 59 and has continual held those qualifications for a period of not less than ten years.

Director of public prosecution is empowered to appoint any advocate of high court or persons employed in the public services to be a public prosecutor for the purpose of criminal proceeding by the state. This is accordance with section 95(1) and (2) Criminal Procedure Act. Perhaps should be noted that director of public prosecution office is situated in Dar-es-salaam with zonal offices in all area where the high court operates its sub registries. It is obvious that the director cannot cover the whole of Tanzania without have assistance from other public private officers.
The powers and duties of director of public prosecution come due to the provisions of various statutes, Acts and other laws.

The powers of director of public prosecution provided under Article 59B (2), (3) and (4) of a constitution of United Republic of Tanzania of 1977. According to Article 59B (2), “The director of public prosecutions shall have powers to institute, prosecute and supervise all criminal prosecutions in a country”.

Under Article 59B (3) of a constitution of United Republic of Tanzania 1977, the powers of the director of public prosecutions under sub article (2) may be exercised by him in person or on his directions, by officers under him or any other officers who discharge these duties under his instructions. This article show that, a director of public prosecution given a power to select or choose any person who is advocate or any with laws knowledge who is also employed by government to act the functions of director of public prosecution to the areas they are, this come since a director himself cannot manage to provide service to all regions of a country that’s why he choose other officers to act on his behalf.

Under Article 59B (4) of a constitution of United Republic of Tanzania 1977, in exercising his powers, the director of public prosecution shall be free, shall not be interfered with by any person or with any authority and shall have regard to the following; the need to dispensing justice, prevention of miss-use of procedures for dispensing justice and public interests. This article of constitution give power to director of public prosecution to exercise and practice his duties without interference from any person or organization or a group of people, even a government suppose not to interfere his functions.

The power of appointing other officers as public prosecutors by director of public prosecution, is not only given by constitution, other Acts also give power to director of public prosecution to appoint other officers as prosecutors. Section 25 of Economic and Organized Crime Act, Director of public prosecution given a power to choose other people to be officers and the chosen will functions the same as the head office of director of public prosecution. Under section 25(1) in this part the term “Director of Public Prosecution” includes any public official or officials specified by the director of public prosecutions by notice published in a gazette to whom he has delegated any of his functions for the purposes of this part of this Act.

Director of Public Prosecution also given a power to investigate some matters in some circumstances, under section 33(3) of a National Prosecution Service Act (2002), where a director general is of the opinion that an offence has been committed or is about to be committed under this Act, he shall commence investigation in relation to that offence and on completion of such an investigation submit the report to the director of public prosecutions.

Director of Public Prosecution also given power under section 90 of Criminal Procedure Act, section 90 (a), a director of public prosecution have duty to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court (other than a court martial) in respect of any offence alleged to have been committed by that person, (b) to take over and continue any criminal proceeding that have been instituted or undertaken by any other person or authority, and (c) to discontinue any criminal proceeding instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person. The director of public prosecution may also discontinue any  criminal proceeding whether or not the same were instituted and undertaken by him the discontinuation may either be by way of nolle prosequi as per section 91 of Criminal Procedure Act or by withdraw of the charges against the accused person as section 98 of Criminal Prosecution Act.

Generally, duty of public prosecutor is to prepare charges against alleged offenders and prosecute then. His duty therefore covers perusal of the contents of his case files the charges and presentation of the evidence before a court of law. In the court he is required to examine witness and so bring out all that the witnesses know about the matter in order to enable the court to reach a sensible and just decision, also provide legal defense for criminal claims against the government and the people of Tanzania, to give advice prior to taking legal action by state, to manager criminal appeal and application on behalf of republic.

One thing to note however is that all prosecutions whether public or private are subject to the control of the director of public prosecution, indeed should the director feel that the interests to be served by private prosecution would be contrary to public interests, then he may intervene and exercise his discretion and powers to see to it that no abuse of the legal process may occur. Refer to section 90 of Criminal Procedure Act see also Tunner v.Dpp 1978 crim Law.

[1] National Prosecution Service Act [CAP. 430 R.E. 2022] s.4

[2] Ibid. s.9(1)

[3] Constitution of United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 as amended. Art.59B

[4] Criminal Procedure Act [CAP. 20 R.E. 2022]
[5] National Prosecution Service Act [CAP. 430 R.E. 2022]. S.16,17

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