Q&A – 7 August 2017

Maximum amount for overseas travel

Is there any restriction on the amount of money that I can travel with when going overseas? I was recently stopped and searched at the airport. Please guide.
MU, Dar

Foreign currency in Tanzania is regulated by the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Act, 1992, the Banking and Financial Institutions (Foreign Exchange Exposure Limits) Regulations, 2008, and the Foreign Exchange (Bureau de Change) Regulations, 2015.

The Foreign Exchange (Bureau de Change) Regulations, 2015 allows the Bureau de Change to sell to a resident person, upon production of travelling documents and residency evidence, an amount of foreign currency not exceeding the equivalent of USD 10,000. For the amount exceeding USD10,000 further documentary evidence is required such as invoices in case of importation, letter or invoice from a medical or education institution or relevant invoices in case of any charges payable in foreign currency. The regulations provide for a limit of foreign currency a resident can carry out of Tanzania when for example travelling, and that limit is set at USD 10,000. In short you can only carry a maximum of USD 10,000 if travelling outside the country unless you can provide documentary evidence that you will need more than USD 10,000. Furthermore airport authorities, for safety, have power to stop and search you so there is nothing new about this.

Injury when working out

I was working out at a gym in Dar when one of the machines failed and caused me a very serious shoulder injury. The wire snapped and the whole weight came on me. Luckily I was on medium weights and survived but the injury could have been fatal. The gym has a tendency not to service its machines. When I approached the manager, he rudely pointed out a notice that read – all customers exercise at their own risk. Does that allow them to get off the hook? They have involved their lawyer. I mistrust lawyers as they are always out to get you.
FG, Dar

Just because the gym has a notice, does not mean you cannot sue them. The gym has a duty to care for its members and the snapping is proof of breach of that duty, as long as you were not involved in any way in the snapping. The severity of the injury makes us believe that you can really take the gym owners and managers to task for failing to discharge their duties.

Unfortunately we have not seen many such kind of litigation in Tanzania but elsewhere suing a gym or your trainer is very common.

The involvement of their lawyer also sends a message that they are concerned on the action you might take. Whether you mistrust a lawyer is irrelevant. On the contrary because of lawyers and the way they think, the world has become a more efficient place. All lawyers are not saints but neither are they as bad as you make them sound in your question.

Arrested equipped for stealing

My son was seen acting suspiciously in a residential area. He had a torch, gloves and two screwdrivers, which he threw away when he saw a police officer. He was subsequently arrested and charged with the offence of attempting to commit burglary. What should I do?
TM, Morogoro

Whether or not there are chances of success will depend on the evidence that the prosecution will present to prove the charge against your son. The torch, gloves and screwdrivers are not articles which were made or adapted for use in committing theft or burglary but Courts are entitled to draw inferences from their nature and the circumstances in which the suspect was in possession of them in order to determine intent.

The facts of the case are leading to implicating your son- you will need to seek legal assistance immediately. This is a criminal charge which can lead to a custodial sentence for your son.

One Court says north, other says south

There were two cases of different parties going on in two different Courts. The issues were more or less similar. One Court ruled exactly opposite of the other. How can the Courts do such a serious blunder? I have reported this to the Chief Justice. Please guide further.
YU, Dar

We are sorry for your disappointment but it is not uncommon for such an occurrence in many Court systems around the World, Tanzania being one of them. That is the reason there is normally one Appellate Court in the country and the parties can appeal to this Court where one judgment will ultimately be issued. There is a principle of stare decisis by which judges are obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions. Generally speaking, higher Courts do not have direct oversight over the lower Court of record, in that they normally do not reach out on their own initiative at any time to overrule judgments of the lower Courts. Normally, the burden rests with litigants to appeal rulings (including those in clear violation of established case law) to the higher Courts. If a judge acts against precedent and the case is not appealed, the decision will likely stand.

A lower Court may not rule against a binding precedent, even if it feels that it is unjust; it may only express the hope that a higher Court or the legislature will reform the rule in question. If the Court believes that developments or trends in legal reasoning render the precedent unhelpful, and wishes to evade it and help the law evolve, it may either hold that the precedent is inconsistent with subsequent authority, or that it should be distinguished by some material difference between the facts of the cases. If that judgment goes to appeal, the appellate Court will have the opportunity to review both the precedent and the case under appeal, perhaps overruling the previous case law by setting a new precedent of higher authority.

Reporting this to the Chief Justice might not help as that is an administrative action you have taken. The matter must be appealed. Your lawyers can guide you further.

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