Q&A – 1 September 2014

Monitoring of bank account

As a bank if the police call us and ask us to give them each and every detail of someone’s account on a continuous basis, are we forced to do so? They claim to be calling from headquarters.
TR, Dar

As a bank you should not be taking verbal instructions. As a bank you also need to find out whether the person calling you is really the police- very likely these men seem to be conmen as the police would normally formally write to you citing the section of the law that they are using to get this particular info and the reasons thereof otherwise anyone’s account can be monitored. Please note that monitoring of an account is a continuous exercise as opposed for the police or the Tanzania Revenue Authority asking for a bank statement of a particular account.

For monitoring of an account the Proceeds of Crime Act has a very clear provision under section 65 which states that (l) The Director of Public Prosecutions may apply to a Court for a monitoring order directing a financial institution to give information to the Inspector General of Police about financial transactions, conducted through an account held by a particular person with that financial institution. (2) A monitoring order shall apply in relation to financial transactions conducted during a period specified in the order. (3) A Court shall not make a monitoring order unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person in respect of whose account the information is sought:- (a) has committed or is reasonably suspected of having committed a specified offence; or (b) was involved in the commission of or is reasonably suspected of having been involved in the commission of, a specified offence; or (c) has benefited, directly or indirectly, from the commission of a specified offence. (4) A monitoring order shall specify the name of names in which the account is believed to be held and the type of information that the financial institution is required to give. (5) Any financial institution which contravenes a monitoring order of provides false or misleading information shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding one million shillings.

You can see that the DPP must apply to the Court for such a monitoring order and should serve you with it before you can start providing continuous information. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Detention orders in Tanzania

Does the President in Tanzania have powers to keep someone in custody? I will be shocked if such power not been abolished todate and why not?
OI, Mwanza

The Presidents powers amongst other laws are embedded in the Emergency Powers Act. Just like similar laws exist in other countries, including the western powers, Tanzania still has bestowed wide discretionary and general powers upon the President.

It must be admirably noted here that unlike other African and Western countries, the President in Tanzania has sparingly used any such powers that he possesses. Particularly on detention, which is the arrest without trial of an individual, the Emergency Powers Act allows the President to detain someone for upto six months and a further three months.

This Act states in section 5 subsection (3) that the President may by order in writing commit any person arrested on his direction to such custody as he may deem fit. (4) No person detained shall, unless the President by a special order otherwise directs, be detained in custody for a period exceeding two months. (5) No person shall be detained in custody for an aggregate period exceeding six months unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the President that his continued detention is in the public interest; in that case he may be detained for a further period not exceeding three months.

In the last 20 years we not seen any our President’s using such powers which clearly demonstrates the maturity of our leadership. This act also provides the President with power to inter alia control organisations, control publications, arrest and search suspected persons, power to restrict newspapers into the country and power to declare a state of emergency. This Act also provides for a provision that anything done under it will not be questioned by any Court, giving the President very wide discretionary powers to act.

In view of wide powers, the Act is also not very long and we advise you read it for further insight.

Offence when out on parole

My uncle was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to 10 years in jail. After the 6th year he was released on parole. Two years ago, he was arrested again for a minor offence and sentenced to one year in imprisonment. It is now the second year and he is not being released. How can they hold him for more than the one year?
HJ, Moshi

Your uncle was likely released under the Parole Boards Act for which he qualified after having served atleast half of the 10 years he was sentenced. One of the key conditions of release under the Parole Boards Act is that if he is arrested and imprisoned again after he is released on parole, than he will not only serve the new sentence for which he is now arrested, but also serve the remaining of the period for which he was granted parole.

Hence your uncle will in addition to having served the one year will now have to serve the 4 years that he had not served in his original sentence of ten years. This might not be the reply you wanted from us but sadly it is what the law states. Your lawyer can guide you further.