Q&A – 18 March 2019

Contempt of Court

I have been summoned to Court but am not comfortable to attend as I don’t feel I want to be a witness in this case, which may end up incriminating a friend of mine. Can I be forced to testify? What if I choose to lie or if I choose not to testify? Please guide me as this is a very sensitive issue for me and my family.
TE, Moshi

If you lie while on oath, you can be charged with perjury which carries a jail sentence. It is your duty to say the truth and nothing but the truth when you are in the witness stand.

You can also be forced to testify. Our Penal Code states that any person who having been called upon to give evidence in a judicial proceeding, fails to attend or, having attended, refuses to be sworn or to make an affirmation, or having been sworn or affirmed, refuses without lawful excuse to answer a question or to produce a document or other thing, or remains in the room in which such proceeding is being had or taken, after the witnesses have been ordered to leave such room is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for six months or to a fine not exceeding five hundred shillings.

If the offence is committed in view of the Court, the Court may cause the offender to be detained in custody, and at any time before the rising of the Court on the same day may take cognizance of the offence and sentence, the offender to a fine of four hundred shillings or in default of payment to imprisonment for one month. This same provision applies in a Primary Court notwithstanding that a person has not given oath.

Checking of person’s immigration status

I know of a person who I highly suspect of being illegally in Tanzania. Is there any way I can check his permit status online?
AM, Dar

Section 8 of the Non Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2014 provides for a work permit register that is to be kept and maintained by the labour commissioner where information relating to work permit and certificate of exemptions including other information is recorded. This is not an online register but a manual one.

Hence the work permit register is publicly available, and must be mandatorily maintained by the labour commissioner. This law provides that you can peruse the register and even make copies from it after paying a USD 50 fee. We recommend that you proceed contact the office of the labour commissioner and look at this register where all relevant details will be available to you.

Remember that he requires both a work permit and a residence permit to live legally in Tanzania and both must co exist at the same time to allow the person to legally work here. This is sometimes overlooked or confused by many applicants lending them in a great deal of trouble

Employing children

We are a chain of shops and do not mind employing children during holidays or after school for them to get experience and some pocket money. Our HR person says this is absolutely illegal as children are not supposed to work in Tanzania. I find it very hard to understand why the law is so stiff when other countries allow children to work to save money. Kindly guide.
TT, Mwanza

According to the Employment and Labour Relations Act you cannot employ a child below the age of 14. However, a child of fourteen years and above who is on leave, has completed his studies or is not in school for any justifiable reason, may be employed to work in an establishment for not more than six hours per day, and not in a job that is hazardous or hard labour.

This law further states that no child who is still attending school shall be required or permitted to work in any establishment in excess of three hours per day. A child cannot also work overtime or between 8pm and 6am (night shifts). In terms of carrying load, a child between 14 and 16 years is not allowed to carry load of more than 15 kgs, and a child between 16 and 18 cannot carry load of more than 20 kgs.

Retaining electronic receipt

I went to a restaurant for lunch. After paying my bill, I did not keep the electronic receipt that was issued only to be caught by the TRA officers outside. I know it is necessary for the restaurant to issue the electronic receipt but do I, as a mere client having had lunch in a restaurant, have to retain the receipt? What are my rights as I see this as being very unfair.
YU, Dar

The Tax Administration Act Regulations 2016 provide that a person to whom a fiscal receipt or invoice is issued shall demand and retain the receipt or invoice in his possession and shall, upon a request made by the Commissioner General or any officer authorised by the Commissioner General, produce the said receipt to the Commissioner General or such authorised officer.

A person who demands a fiscal receipt or fiscal invoice upon purchasing goods or services and is denied, that person, shall immediately, report to the Commissioner General through the quickest means of such incident.

You can see that you have both the obligation to demand a receipt and to retain it, and if you don’t, you commit an offence and will be fined. This is the law and you must comply. The TRA officers were merely doing their jobs.