Q&A – 18 June 2012

Foreigner in Tanzania

I am a foreign citizen currently in Dar for some business exploration. I wish to start business in Tanzania as I see a lot of potential and wish to import items from my home country to sell here. My desire is to operate through a limited company but a new friend of mine advises that I must have a partnership with a local as it is a pre requisite before forming a company. Is it true that other nationals cannot register a company in Tanzania? Can I start and register a company which is exclusively mine?
RT, Dar

Registration of companies in Tanzania falls under the Companies Act which has no such restriction that your friend is talking to you about. Yes, there are certain areas of the economy where local shareholding is required but surely not for importation and trading as you have indicated. Perhaps your ‘new friend’ wants to partner with you and hence his inclination.

If we get your second question correctly, you want to form a company that is a limited liability company but with you as the only shareholder. At the moment that is not possible but the Companies Act is being modified awaiting Presidential approval whereby you will be allowed to do so ie have only one shareholder. At the moment you need to have a minimum of two shareholders.

Want to marry a 16 year old

I am a University graduate residing in Dodoma and am dating a 16 year old girl. Both of us are madly in love with each other and want to get married. The parents of the child have refused to bless us to get married. I have done everything to persuade them to bless us but all in vain. What options do I have?
GP, Dodoma

The law as it stands today requires a female who has not attained the apparent age of eighteen years to obtain consent of her parents or guardian in case there is no parent before getting married. Section 17 of the law of marriage of 1971 provides however that where consent is withheld one can apply to Court, which being satisfied that the consent is unreasonably refused, may grant such consent which shall have the same effect as if it had been given by the parents or guardian as the case may be.

World over it is widely reckoned that it is better to get married at a more matured age after the girl has attained some level of advanced education. Her beauty may fade in 20 years, but her education will remain; this is perhaps what her parents are thinking and we think it is not entirely incorrect to think on those lines.

We must also bring one more serious issue to your attention. We assume that you are also sexually involved with the girl. Please note that under section 130(2)(e) of the penal code a male person commits the offence of rape if he has sexual intercourse with a girl or a woman with or without her consent when she is under eighteen years of age, unless the woman is his wife who is fifteen or more years of age and is not separated from the man.

From the above you can see that even if your girlfriend is consenting to having sexual intercourse with you, in view of her age, the day she reports this to the police, you could be charged with rape which is a very serious offence.

Mistaken belief of cocaine

I met some drug dealers to purchase cocaine for business purposes only to be arrested with large quantities of what I thought was cocaine. The cocaine that I was holding was sent for testing and the results were negative and it turned out to be glucose packed in parcels as if it was cocaine. The dealers were planning to cheat on me and had it not been for the police, I would have lost my money. To my utmost surprise the police have instituted criminal proceedings against me while they know that there was no cocaine. How can they do that and what should I do? This seems to be misuse of public resources by prosecuting a case which has no basis because dealing in glucose is not illegal in this country.
PG, Dar

We are confused how to answer your question. You seem to make it sound like dealing in cocaine is a normal and legal business in Tanzania. For the record it is not and it is a very serious offence if you are found in possession of such narcotics that destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth in Tanzania.

The Penal Code states that a person who does or omits to do an act under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in the existence of any state of things is not criminally responsible for the act or omission to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as he believed to exist.

This means that, a person will be held liable for an act which he honestly believed to be committing regardless of the actual circumstances. Had you believed that you were dealing in ‘glucose’ while in reality they were selling you ‘cocaine’, the law would have been lenient on you because of the honest mistake of fact. In your case, you believed to be dealing in drugs hence you will be charged and convicted of the very offence that you thought you were committing regardless of the actual circumstances.

Your glucose story is hard to believe as you admitted that you were intending to purchase cocaine. You will need to have a defence attorney who can guide you through this criminal investigation and trial.