Dar es Salaam. The Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam has dismissed all 24 criminal charges filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against businessman Jitesh Jayantilal Ladwa over acquisition of 300 shares in Indian Ocean Hotels Limited.
The company deals in hotel business. Senior Resident Magistrate Rhoda Ndimilanga decided that the Economic Case No 28 of 2022 was filed in contravention of recent amendments of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), which prohibits the prosecution of a criminal matter before exhausting civil remedy.
The magistrate upheld a preliminary objection raised by Advocates Jeremiah Ntobesya and Juma Chuma that the matter against their client related to a shareholders’ dispute in a Private Company with no public interest.
Magistrate Ndimilanga agreed with the defence counsels on two fundamental laws, in particular Section 23 of the Written laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, No. 1 of 2022.
The section reads: “Where a matter is of a civil, administrative or criminal nature, as the case may be, it is mandatory for the exhaustion for civil or administrative remedies prior to the invocation of any criminal proceedings.”
She also agreed with the defence argument of double jeopardy which was in conflict with section 70 of the Interpretation of Laws Act Chapter 1 of the Laws of Tanzania. The magistrate also said her court has no jurisdiction to entertain such a criminal matter.
The court recognized that there was an existing case in the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania (Commercial Division) Commercial Cause No 2 of 2020 between Chandulal Walji Ladwa and Dhirajlal Walji Ladwa against Jitesh Jayantilal Ladwa for the dispute in shareholding and directors. Such case contained same allegations that the Director of Public Prosecution brought his charge sheet in favor of Chandulal Walji Ladwa and Dhirajlal Walji Ladwa against Jitesh Ladwa stating largely a share dispute between private shareholders.
Among the charges filed by the DPP against the businessman before the Kisutu Court include conspiracy to commit an offence, forgery of documents, uttering false documents, procuring execution of deeds by treats, obtaining shares by false pretences and money laundering.
The amendment of Act No 1 of 2022, that is section 23, amends section 4 of the Criminal Procedure Act, (CPA) which is a procedural law which brings into effect all sections of the CPA, from which economic sabotage proceedings as well as Anti Corruption acts must follow such amendments.
The court’s ruling has brought to the fore the new law which prohibits any invocation of criminal proceeding in matter which has started already in civil or administrative domains.