CUMBERSOME legal and judicial procedures are among factors that contribute to the delay of determination of cases relating to commercial transactions and tax, discouraging investments, economic developments and hampering justice, Chief Justice, Professor Ibrahim Juma , has said.
The Head of the Judiciary said in Dar es Salaam last week that the delays in determination of cases have an adverse impact on the country’s economy and lead to serious violation of commercial laws by businessmen and provision of economic services in general.
Professor Juma called on stakeholders in the law to consider reviewing relevant legislations to reduce the prolonged procedures and steps to allow courts and other Tribunals to determine the cases within reasonable time.
He pointed out that courts are the last resort of which businessmen and investors with disputes relating to commercial contracts, investments or even land conflicts could opt to for determination of cases.
He said when disputes remain pending in courts, the property, money or land involved in the disputes can hardly be properly used sometimes the dispute could take all stages required to the Court of Appeal.
The CJ gave an example of tax disputes, which pass three stages of Tax Revenue Appeals Board, Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal and later Court of Appeal for resolution and when courts delay in deciding the cases, they create a bad habit by unfaithful businessmen to disregard the terms of commercial contracts.
“Such delays provide loopholes for dishonesty businessmen to default loan terms while banks and other financial institutions ban the small and mediumsized enterprises loan opportunities and has been identified as one of the reasons why banks have stringent loan conditions and interest rates,” he said.
Prof Juma pointed out further that evaluation made on the three stages of tax tribunals conducted between January 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 shows how much the law permitting long procedure before determination could be the barrier to “Our theme of timely delivery of justice.”
According to him, the evaluation shows Tax Appeal No. 95 of 2017 remained undetermined for 7 6 months at the first stage of the Tax Revenue Appeals Board, while Tax Appeal No. 99 of 2017 remained before the Board for 72 months.
The Head of the Judiciary further hinted that there was another Tax Appeal No. 100 of 2017 which remained undetermined for a period of 48 months, while Tax Appeal No. 101 of 2017 had to wait until 46 months to be decided.
“Evaluation shows that 14 tax cases remained at the Board’s stage for average of 17 months, while the second stage of Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal cases remained at average of 23 moths. The same evaluation indicates tax cases remained at the Court of Appeal for seven months on average,” he said.
Prof Juma said that by considering the theme of “Timely delivery of justice, Court and Stakeholders responsibilities,” was of the view that stakeholders charged with tax policy making could facilitate delivery of justice on time by assessing the time spent in such three stages of tax tribunals.
Apart from tax disputes, the CJ said, there were other laws on the flow of delivery of justice which needed to be reviewed by relevant stakeholders to reduce the prolonged procedure and many steps for the benefit of early dispensation of justice.
He gave examples of cases relating to land disputes, which have to undergo four stages from the Ward Tribunals, District Land and Housing Tribunals, High Court and finally Court of Appeal.
The CJ further pointed out that the judiciary will continue giving tax and commercial related cases preferential treatments to ensure they are determined swiftly. In 2018, he said, the Court of Appeal heard tax appeals worth of disputed amount of 32,233,101,253/- and 4,7 05,611 US dollars.