Court name
Court of Appeal of Tanzania

Republic vs Yona Kaponda & Others () [1985] TZCA 3 (27 April 1985);

Law report citations
1985 TLR 84 (TZCA)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZCA 3

Makame, J.A.:  In this Ruling I shall deal with two applications together.  They are Misc. D Economic Criminal Application No.1/85 involving the respondent Ally Haji Ahamed, and Application No.2/85, with Yona Kaponda and nine other persons as the respondents.  In both applications the Republic is the applicant and the background facts are essentially the same.  In both applications Mr. Saffari, Senior State Attorney, appeared for the Applicant Republic, while Mr. Bateyunga, learned advocate, represented the E respondents.
The eleven respondents in these two applications were alleged to have committed offence against the Economic and Organized Crime Control Act, 1984. F
Mtenga, J., granted them bail when they applied to him and, except in the case of Ally Haji Ahamed, the Republic did not object to the applications.
The Ruling  in Ahamed's case was made on 19th December, 1984, and on 26th January, 1985 Mr. Teemba, Senior State Attorney, purported to file a Notice of Appeal.  On the same day, he swore an affidavit in support G of and "Application for Leave to Appeal Out of Time".
There were eight rulings involving the other ten applicants and these were delivered on various dates, between 19th and 31st December, 1984.  On 30th January, 1985 Mr. Teemba purported to file a Notice of Appeal and on the following day he swore an affidavit in support of an 'Application for Leave to Appeal out of Time". H
In terms of Rule 61 of the Tanzania Court of Appeal Rules, 1979, the Republic ought to have filed a Notice of Appeal within fourteen days of each ruling by Mtenga, J., granting bail.  The Republic did not do so, and before I they can be allowed to file the Notices out of time they ought to make appropriate application setting out good reasons for the delays.

Mr. Teemba did not set out any reasons, let alone good ones.  His 'Application' in Ahamed's case is set out fully A to facilitate illustration.
"Application for Leave to Appeal Out of Time.
A f f i d a v i t B
   I, AGGREY ARTHUR MRINGI TEEMBA, Senior State Attorney,
   P.O. Box 970, Mbeya, do solemnly swear and state of follow: C
   1.   That on the 19th day of December, 1984 the Honourable Mr. Justice Mtenga, sitting in the High Court, as an Economic Crimes Court, allowed an Application for bail under section 35(1) of the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act, 1984. D
   2.   That as he sat alone without the two lay members as provided for in law the Court was not properly and lawfully constituted.
   3.   That this issue raises a point of law of great public importance. E
   WHEREFORE, the Appellant prays that he be allowed to fill his appeal notwithstanding the lapse of time.  Dated at Mbeya this 26th day of JANUARY, 1985.
With respect, such an empty application is not only not serious, it sounds discourteous to the court. F
Mr. Saffari conceded that Mr. Teemba assigned no reasons for the delay, and he himself was not able to advance any.  He merely said that the delay was only a short one and not unreasonable.  Quite obviously, G whether or not a delay is unreasonable is only one of the factors to be taken into account; but the delay has to be explained first.  Mr. Bateyunga has objected to the applications and he pointed out the omission I have referred to.
In deciding whether or not to extend time I have to consider whether or not there is 'sufficient reasons'.  As I H understand it, 'Sufficient reasons' here does not refer only, and is not confined, to the delay.  Rather, it is 'sufficient reason' for extending time, and for this I have to take into account also the decision intended to be appealed against, the surrounding circumstances, and the weight and implications of the issue or issues involved. I The respondents here were released on bail, after applying for the same, presumably after being given the mandatory advice in accordance with Section 29 (4) of Act 13 of 1984.  They were advised

to petition the High Court, which is probably not the same as an Economic Crimes Court.  The particular 'High A Court' referred to under Sections 3 and 4 is meant to hear and determine cases, and Mtenga, J. felt that that did not include questions of bail.  An application for bail after a person is charged is to the Court, which I suppose refers to the Economic Crimes Court, in which a High Court judge must sit with two lay members. B Under section 16, decisions are by majority, which implies the presence of the lay members, but arguably that does not dispose of Mtenga, J.'s  problem:  According to Mtenga, J.'s argument, bail would be excluded because "All questions" under section it refers only to all those questions to be decided by the Court, and bail is not one of them. C
There are thus obviously conflicting views.  The reality however, is that there are these eleven people, and probably a lot more, who are out on bail and who the Republic contends ought not to have been released on bail. D These people ought to know whether or not they are legally out.  Those in remand custody, and these would, I think, be several, ought to know for sure where they should go to seek bail, if they want to.  If it is correct that lay members must be involved, and if Mr. Bateyunga is right that to-date no lay members have been appointed, it must mean that the system is impotent - no bail can be granted at the moment; so the authorities under Section 5 E of the Act should be moved into action.  All this would depend on resolving the issue to be raised in the intended appeal.
In view of all the foregoing, what is involved here is certainly a matter of great public importance, and it is proper that the Court of Appeal should decide this grave matter.  The situation is a novel one and the novelty might have F contributed to Mr. Teemba's delay.  Notwithstanding the Republic's failure to advance reasons, I find sufficient reason for extending time within which the Republic may file Notices in these two  applications.  Appropriate Notices to appeal must be filed by Friday 10th May, 1985 and then the matter should be followed up accordingly.  The application is accordingly allowed. G
Application allowed