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I have been informed that with the Cyber Crimes Act in place, what we write on facebook, as a joke or comment can be used against us in Court? Can I please understand more on this law as I am a facebook addict and cannot live without it? FG, Mwanza

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Will names me as boyfriend

I am a married but had a girlfriend who has named me in her Will as having been her boyfriend. Is there a way I can get an injunction from being mentioned like this? This girl is quite sick and there are chances she might not survive. How can I stop from being named? This former girlfriend says that she must name me as that is how her soul will get relieved. I’m not sure how to disclose this to my wife. Please guide. YT, Dar

We do not see how you can stop your exgirlfriend from naming you in her Will or otherwise. She is entitled to name whoever she wants and whatever she wants in her Will. It is her document. Further from the facts it seems that what she is intending to write or has written is not false, hence you cannot even sue her for defamation. If you file an application for an injunction there is a high chance that this application itself will come into the public domain as files in Court are accessible. You need to speak to your lawyer or a counsellor for further guidance. We are not qualified to response to you on how and whether you should self-disclose this to your wife. That call remains yours. This is a good lesson for you, and other men, for the future.

Tax case, member’s opinion differs

I had a case at the Tax Revenue Appeals Board where one of the members of the board ruled in my favour although the decision was against me as the Chairman had a different opinion. The member who ruled in my favour properly explained his reasoning for doing so, but the board’s decision is not on point. What can I do? OI, Mwanza

You have the option of appealing to the Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal within 30 days of the decision. Section 20 of the Tax Revenue Appeals Act states that for the purposes of determining any matter, the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman as the case may be, shall not be bound by the opinion of any member but, if he disagrees with the opinion of any member, he shall record the opinion of such member or members differing with him and reasons for his disagreement. The Chairman or Vice-Chairman should have stated reasons in the judgment for her/ his disagreement, and that can now also be a ground of appeal to the Tribunal.

Confusion on when law comes into force

I am totally confused as to when laws in Tanzania come into force. I would think that once they are passed by the National Assembly and assented by the President they come into force only to find out that there are more steps to follow. Please explain to me how this works? This is stalling progress is it not? IF, Dodoma

Bills, which are the draft laws, are taken to the National Assembly in Dodoma. After passing the National Assembly, the President must assent to the bill for it to become law. However upon assentment, it is not automatic that the bill will come into force. Coming into force is the commencement date of the act.

The law can come into commencement one amongst the following three ways. The first is where a date of commencement is stated in the Act itself, which in recent times has become quite rare. The second way is where the Act leaves the commencement in the hands of a certain authority appointed by the respective Act itself. For example the Act would state that this Act shall come into force on such date as the Minister may by notice in the gazette appoint. Hence under this method, the laws commencement date is at the mercy of the Minister or relevant appointment authority. A typical example is the Minister for Industries and Trade who for the past few years has surprisingly failed to bring into force the commencement of the change in law for a company to have a single shareholder, despite both the law having passed the National Assembly and having been assented to by the President. Hence till date you cannot register a single shareholder company because of the non-action of the appointing authority. This is a typical example of progress being stalled. The third way for an Act to commence, again which is rare, is for the Act not to mention it and the commencement date would then automatically be as soon as it is published in the gazette.

Community service instead of prison

Is there a law in Tanzania that allows prisoners to perform community service instead of rotting in prison? What are the conditions? UU, Moshi

There is an act called the Community Service Act which makes provisions for the introduction and regulation of community service on offenders in certain cases, and for connected and incidental matters. Section 3 states that (1) where any person is convicted of an offence punishable by– (a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, with or without the option of a fine; or (b) imprisonment for a term exceeding three years but for which the court determines a term of imprisonment for three years or less, with or without the option of a fine, to be appropriate, the court may, subject to this Act, make a community service order requiring the offender to perform community service. Hence if the offender is sentenced to a term not exceeding 3 years, this Act can be invoked. You must remember that this is not an automatic right and the Community Service Orders Committee amongst others have discretionary power under this Act.

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Prosecution of MPs

I have seen many Members of Parliament being prosecuted in Courts of law. Is that legal? Do they now have immunity like in other countries? It is tantamount to prosecuting a judge is it not? TY, Dar

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Husband breach of contract

My husband promised that when I get married, and as part of my condition to get married to him, he would deposit TZS 50M every year in my personal account. I agreed to get married to him based on such a promise. For the last 15 years he complied but the last 2 years he claims that he does not have the money. I have asked him to borrow to pay as this is why I got married to him. He has refused and I want to divorce him, and put up a claim against him. Do I have a strong case against my husband? IT, Dar

It seems like you have another agreement on top of the normal marriage contract with your husband. We have not seen this agreement and hence this answer may not necessarily be conclusive. To begin with, a marriage is based on love and affection between the parties.

Yours seems to be driven by cash. A fundamental element seems to be missing in your relationship which is a shame. This is the first time we are seeing such a marriage based on such a condition. If you are successful in suing your husband, which we doubt you will succeed on, then it will set a bad precedent not only in Tanzania but world over.

Our cursory opinion, based on the few facts above, is that your agreement to be paid TZS 50M might be held to be illegal and if he counterclaims on you, you might be forced to return the money you got over the last 15 years.

We also believe that this is also not a ground for divorce. We strongly recommend you meet a marriage counsellor who might be able to provide more solid help then us lawyers.

Misleading company name

There is a company whose name suggests it is a hospital when infact it is merely a pharmacy.Once in there, the pharmacist gives you oral medication without a prescription. Infact everyone inside calls the pharmacist doctor. Is there a way someone can force this company to change its name so as not to mislead the public? UU, Morogoro

Section 33 of the Companies Act states that (I) If in the Minister’s opinion the name by which a company is registered gives so misleading an indication of the nature of its activities as to be likely to cause harm to the public, he may direct it to change its name.

(2) The direction must, if not duly made the subject of an application to the court under subsection (3), be complied with within a period of 6 weeks from the date of the direction or such longer period as the Registrar may think fit to allow. You can write to the Minister who can force the name change, although the company may challenge this in Court.

Imprisonment of company

I have read various laws of Tanzania and am thoroughly confused when the law mentions that the body corporate ie the company is guilty it shall be sentenced to imprisonment or fined or both. Now how can a company be sent to prison? Do you arrest the poor managers, directors or shareholders? Is that not unfair for sins of a company? GO, Moshi

It is true that you cannot sentence a corporate body as it is not a human being. However some of the laws actually provide that the directors or the managers will be sentenced to jail. In that case it is the directors and managers who are responsible for the acts of the company. However where the law does not specifically state so, you are right that one cannot imprison the company. To salvage such a situation, the Interpretation of Laws Act provides a fine mechanism in lieu of imprisonment and states in section 71 that (1) Every enactment relating to an offence punishable on conviction or on summary conviction shall be taken to refer to bodies corporate as well as to individuals.

(2) Where under a written law, a forfeiture or penalty is payable to a party aggrieved, it shall be payable to a body corporate in every case where that body is the party aggrieved.

(3) Except where otherwise expressly provided, where the penalty prescribed in a written law in respect of an offence does not consist of or include a fine, the court before which the offence is tried may, in the case of a body corporate, impose a fine– (a) where a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months is prescribed, a fine of two million shillings; (b) where a term of imprisonment exceeding six months but not exceeding one year is prescribed, a fine of three million shillings; (c) where a term of imprisonment exceeding one year but not exceeding two years is prescribed, a fine of five million shillings; (d) where a term of imprisonment exceeding three years is prescribed, a fine of ten million shillings. You can see that instead of the corporate being imprisoned it is fined.

Exclusivity of the national oil company

I am intending to invest in the oil and gas sector in Tanzania.Am I free to sell the gas I extract to anyone in Tanzania that I wish at whatever price I want? RE, Dar

Unfortunately if you are a new player, after discovery, you will likely come under the ambit of the Petroleum Act 2015 which has introduced, unlike its predecessor law the Petroleum (Exploratoion and Production) Act 1980, the concept of an aggregator who has the exclusive right to purchase, collect and sell natural gas from producers save for LNG for export purposes. The aggregator thus has the exclusive right to purchase gas from you and then to sell it in the local market. This is a big problem for many private players since the aggregator needs to have the financial muscle to pay for this gas and at the same time should be able to pay a reasonable price that must be negotiated. Hence if you are unable to negotiate the price, you might never be able to sell.

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