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A sophisticated necessity

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By The Editor - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-23-Jun-2009

Comment

A very important development is about to take place on the judicial front that may assist bring down the rising levels of crime, where the latest technology has been manipulated by unscrupulous individuals for their selfish means.

The laws of this country currently do not allow the submission of electronic evidence in our courts, due to the delayed amendments and or complete lack of vital pieces of legislation.

Criminals have taken advantage of this fact and used electronic means to commit serious offences such as fraud and money laundering. For instance, we have heard of many cases of people losing their money through transactions they know nothing about. Credit card scams are now big business. The Justice ministry has presented the Electronic Records (Evidence) Bill of 2009 to parliament to try and fix such a problem. Justice Minister Ndumiso Mamba has highlighted the fact that about 24 fraud cases are stuck at the Anti Corruption Unit because the law does not allow electronic evidence to be submitted to courts. This is just a few.

Extended Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini hinted that our jails may need to be extended as many criminals will see themselves behind bars once this bill becomes law. Members of Parliament appear not too keen to have this law passed, which is worrying. They want two more weeks to allow a portfolio committee to carry out further consultations. They want a workshop on the Bill

We do hope their desire to fully comprehend what this bill entails as users of electronic gadgets and facilities themselves is based purely on public interest and no other reason because then they need to explain why it has taken them so long to seek clarity on a bill that was advertised more than two months ago.

It is high time our MPs become more proactive than reactive because this has become a trend with our legislators. Research should be carried out prior to parliament debate not in parliament because it reduces them to rubber stamps where ministers can tell them anything they so wish and our MPs would not be in a position to sift the chaff from the corn.

The benefits of having such a law seem to far outweigh the disadvantages. If jails need to be extended, then so be it. Wed rather have bigger jails than more sophisticated criminals roaming the streets.


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