Q&A – 16 July 2018

No mobile phones at workplace

I am working in a pharmaceutical company where we have clear policies which require employees not to enter premises with their mobile phones at the place of work. The same policies are reproduced in employee contracts and repeated during induction sessions. In one incident, one employee took some pictures which show company machines with captions, women at work posing for the pictures which were then uploaded on Facebook without permission from the management. Due to company policies, this employee contract was terminated. The employee has now filed a case at the commission for mediation and arbitration. Please let me know whether taking pictures, adding captions and uploading on Facebook is an offence under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act of 2010.
AM, Dar

Your question raises a very critical issue in relation to understanding of cybercrimes in Tanzania which are new offences. The ever-increasing use of social media has made it necessary for the Government as well as private sector to control such use of social media. The aim for controlling use of social media is to prevent abuse as well as protecting innocent people from such abuses. For the employer, as it is in your case, the control of use of this media aims at, amongst others, ensuring efficiency at work place as well as protecting confidentiality of the employer’s records and data. This is because some information is not meant for public consumption, and this must be respected.

Generally, it is not an offence under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act 2010 to take pictures, adding a caption and uploading them to Facebook. This means that what is prohibited is not pictures per se but rather the type and content of such pictures. The Electronic and Postal Communications Act 2010 prohibits the posting in social media of objectionable pictures which are obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. The same conducts are criminal offences under the Cyber Crimes Act 2015.

Whilst the law does not object the idea of one taking photos and posting them on social media, prudence should be exercised while taking such photos. If you are not careful you may be taken to Court for interfering with the privacy of other people. It may also be, as is the case here, someone losing his or her job for violation of the code of conduct at work place.

Company refuses to transfer shares of late husband

My husband was a majority shareholder of a company in Arusha and died early last year. In his Will, I was the executor and beneficiary and after few months I managed to get a probate from the High Court in Arusha. I used that to transfer his shares into my name, as per the Will, but the company is refusing to accept it claiming they were not informed of this. What should I do?
RL, Arusha

We have greatly truncated the length of your actual question which you had sent as the matter is quite straight forward and all your revolving thoughts, some of which were quite impressive, are not necessary here.

The Companies Act states clearly that the production to a company of any document which is by law sufficient evidence of probate of the Will, or letters of administration of the estate, of a deceased person having been granted to some person; or the Administrator-General having undertaken administration of an estate under the Administrator-General’s Ordinance (Cap. 27) is sufficient evidence of such grant or undertaking. Provided that a company shall not be bound to give notice under this shall be accepted by the company, notwithstanding anything in its articles. The Companies Act from the above gives you full protection.

You have not stated grounds that the other shareholders and or directors are refusing to transfer the shares. We do not see them having any such reservations especially when these shares have been inherited by you under your husbands Will. If this behavior continues, your attorney can consider taking the matter to Court to compel the other shareholders to recognize your shareholding. You may not want to delay this as there have been many instances of remaining shareholders not working in the interests of the company in such situations.

Will not signed by lawyer

My lawyer has not signed my Will and is now dead. Does that invalidate my Will. I am really worried as I do not want to leave an invalid Will. Please guide me?
FO, Arusha

First and foremost there is no requirement that your Will must be signed by your lawyer. Hence it does not matter whether he is dead or alive and you need not panic. In a Will, what is required is for you to have two witnesses who have jointly seen you sign the Will, and have each signed in front of you and infront of each other. This is a mandatory condition to ensure the Will is valid. However the person drawing or drafting the Will, who happens to be your lawyer in this case, does not need to sign anywhere.

Secondly, your Will can be changed at any time meaning that even though he is no more, you can still go ahead and change your Will.  A Will is an evolving instrument and changeable document and must be reviewed yearly or every two years. If you are still worried, we suggest you draft a new Will and get two witnesses to sign on it in your presence.